Hampshire police ‘could have done more to prevent attack’ at Gosport flats

FLATS Andrew Toseland, inset, lived at Garland Court
FLATS Andrew Toseland, inset, lived at Garland Court
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UPDATE: Homeless woman, 21, who died in Gosport was known to council

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PEOPLE living in a block of flats where a man was a viciously attacked say more could have been done to prevent it.

Residents at Garland Court, in Forton Road, Gosport, say the block has been plagued by anti-social behaviour – even before 49-year-old Andrew Toseland was knocked unconscious after asking a group of youths to be quiet in August.

FLATS Garland Court

FLATS Garland Court

They say there have been incidents of people playing loud music at night, gangs intimidating residents with verbal abuse, and glass bottles being thrown out of windows.

It comes after an investigation was launched by The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) into how Hampshire Constabulary handled trouble in the area in the months leading up to the attack on Mr Toseland.

The IPCC is looking at inquiries carried out by officers and contact made between May 20 and August 25, and also examining whether anti-social behaviour was dealt with appropriately.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: ‘More should have been done to stop it happening.

‘I’ve seen a lot of youths coming around here and I don’t recognise anyone.

‘There was a lot of loud music blaring out and incidents of bottles being thrown from the ninth floor.

‘They should have put more work into dealing with these kinds of people, instead of giving them so many chances.’

Another Garland Court resident, who wished to remain nameless, said: ‘I do think more should be done but what can you do? You generally get people “gobbing off” and there’s been no change since it happened.

‘It should be policed better but not just here – the whole area.

‘It seems to me that places like this need something like that to happen before something gets done, sadly.’

Mark Hook, leader of Gosport Borough Council, said: ‘It’s unfortunate that it has led to a vicious attack on Andrew but I welcome the fact that the police have voluntarily put this in front of the IPCC to have a thorough investigation into what led up to this tragic situation.

‘No one should have to put up with anti-social behaviour. It’s a breakdown in communities and there’s a certain number of people who think this type of behaviour is acceptable – but it’s not and won’t be tolerated.’

WHAT THE POLICE SAID

Fareham and Gosport District Commander Chief Inspector Jason Kenny said: ‘In Gosport, more action is needed to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour in the Forton Road area, particularly at Garland Court.

‘Evidence we’ve been compiling over several months enabled magistrates to grant a closure order until December 2012 for one particular flat where there had been persistent nuisance and disorder, including a nearby assault on Andrew Toseland in August.

‘However, we are concerned that our response to the ASB in Garland Court did not meet the excellent service standard expected by the force.

‘Therefore, after careful consideration, a decision has been made to refer this matter voluntarily to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

‘I must stress this referral was voluntary because of concerns over the possible significant impact on public confidence in local policing. Hampshire Constabulary wants to be open and transparent in how it is accountable for our decisions in a public service.

‘The IPCC has taken the decision to carry out an independent investigation, which is examining the effectiveness of Hampshire Constabulary’s response to reports of anti-social behaviour involving Garland Court.’