Free activity programme launched in crusade against antisocial behaviour

Adrian Jackson, station manager with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, Cllr Moira Smith, Cllr Joan Atkinson. Julie Moon, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, with Alex DAmbrosie and Martin Simpson from Services for Young People at the front
Adrian Jackson, station manager with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, Cllr Moira Smith, Cllr Joan Atkinson. Julie Moon, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue, with Alex DAmbrosie and Martin Simpson from Services for Young People at the front

Young people are being treated to a range of free activities in a crackdown on anti-social behaviour.

South Tyneside Council has joined forces with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and South Tyneside Homes to launch the Lighter Nights campaign.

These events also give us the opportunity to talk to young people about the dangers of being drawn into anti-social behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour on other people in their communities.

Coun Joan Atkinson

The initiative, which runs from April 7 to April 23, aims to slash the number of deliberate fires that peak at this time of year.

The launch of the campaign comes as latest figures from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Services revealed while the number of deliberate fires has reduced, the number of attacks on firefighters have risen.

In 2015, 25 firefighters were assaulted as they carried out their duties. This number doubled to 50 last year.

Lead member for area management and community safety, Coun Moira Smith, said: “By working with our partners, we can make more of an impact on reducing anti-social behaviour.

“This campaign is a particularly effective one. Since last year, we have seen a 31 per cent drop in anti-social behaviour reports to the police and the number of calls to the community wardens have also reduced by 27 per cent.”

As part of the campaign, a range of free activities are on offer for young people including two five-a-side football tournaments.

The first will be at Temple Park Leisure Centre on April 7 between 6pm and 9pm, the second one will take place at Clegwell Community Association in Hebburn on April 21.

A climb and barbecue has been arranged for April 13 at Simonside Climbing Wall in South Shields.

Young people will be able to try out their climbing skills and have a go on the UK’s first digital/sensory trailblazer traverse wall. The event, from 5.30pm til 9.30pm is open to those aged five upwards. Families are also welcome.

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families, said: “These events are always very popular and are a great way for us to highlight the varied range of activities we have for young people across the borough.

“These events also give us the opportunity to talk to young people about the dangers of being drawn into anti-social behaviour and the consequences of that behaviour on other people in their communities.”

Superintendent Sarah Pitt said: “The Lighter Nights campaign has our full support and is a fantastic initiative to help tackle anti-social behaviour. When officers on patrol come across groups of youths hanging around they often tell them they have nothing to do so the fact there are free activities for them to get involved in is fantastic.”

District Manager for South Tyneside Ken Corbett, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners again as part of the very successful Lighter Nights campaign.

“Between April and May we see a significant increase in anti-social behaviour (ASB) fires, with incidents peaking between 7pm and 8pm. This campaign is a real opportunity to reduce these types of fire and anti-social behaviour in general.

“Whilst our crews are attending ASB fires they are unavailable for more life threatening incidents or to undertake home safety checks and deliver fire prevention messages.”

For the climbing session, call Martin Simpson at 424 0118 or email martin.simpson@southtyneside.gov.uk or by telephoning. To enter a five-a-side team for the football (11-14 and 15-19) call Chris Thompson 424 7845 or email chris.thompson@southtyneside.gov.uk