By Rachel Clare
In a House of Commons speech Mr Lopresti, who represents the Filton and Bradley Stoke ward, claimed his constituents were suffering at the hands of a “few thugs” who were waging a campaign of “intimidation and abuse”.
He said he was unsatisfied with the police response and invited chief constable Colin Port to meet with residents to discuss the problem.
Although some residents said there had been anti-social behaviour in certain roads in the town, most said Filton was a nice place to live.
During his speech to the House on Tuesday Mr Lopresti detailed an incident in which a resident was followed to his house by about 20 people.
“The crowd followed my constituent down the road to his home where more youths arrived in two cars,” he said.
“Neighbours called the police who, instead of dispersing the crowd or, heaven forbid, making arrests for disturbance of the peace at the very least, simply chatted with the crowd in a manner that my constituent described as jolly and friendly.”
Mr Lopresti went on to claim the police had not responded to a complaint made by the resident.
“It is easy to see why there is a perception in some quarters that nothing can be done about this sort of crime, but something can be done, as it was done in New York by Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
“In one of the most crime- infested cities in the world, he achieved real success.”
Jonathan Benjamin, Mr Lopresti’s senior parliamentary assistant, told the Post the South Gloucestershire MP was referring to a particular problem of anti-social behaviour in Filton’s Conygre ward.
The roads affected include Hunters Way, Charles Road, Wades Road and Warren Road.
He said problems began last April when residents reported gangs hanging around in the street, driving mopeds up and down the road and making lots of noise.
He said Mr Lopresti felt the police had not done enough to address the problem and had not responded to residents’ concerns.
But chief superintendent district commander Andy Francis told the Post he was “disappointed” by the comments and said comparisons to New York were “laughable”.
“I can’t understand why the comparison has been made,” he said. “It’s entirely unnecessary and only serves to cause concern within the community.”
Filton neighbourhood inspector Bob Evely also said the police had met with residents many times and had made arrests on several occasions.
He said officers had even employed “covert tactics” to try to catch those involved.
“We will continue to make sure residents have the highest level of confidence in our policing,” he said.
Mr Lopresti hit back at the rejection of his comparison to New York last night.
He said: “It’s rather telling that the local police have found it laughable that I mentioned Rudy Guiliani and Filton in the same breath. It may be a laughing matter to them, but it certainly isn’t for myself and local residents who are living with the consequences of their inaction.”
He said police had “completely missed the point”, adding: “I did not compare Filton to New York, rather make the point that something can, and has, been done to combat crime of this nature successfully elsewhere, and in much tougher circumstances.”
One resident living on Hunters Way, who asked not to be identified, said there was constant noise and fighting in the road and that he was regularly woken up in the early hours. He claimed the police had “warped priorities” and an “over familiarity” with those causing the trouble.
“When I call the police they send four PCSOs, who amble up and chat to the group, patting the ring leader on the back,” he said.
“It is low level aggravation but many neighbours are finding it unliveable.”
But other Filton residents said the town did not have an anti-social behaviour problem.
Sarah Pearce, 30, who lives in Church View, said: “I have never had any problems with anti-social behaviour. People keep themselves to themselves – Filton’s a nice place to live.”