A POLICE team which aims to make the streets safer and keep youngsters out of trouble is in the running for an award.
Operation Safe Stop was launched in 2008 as a joint operation between the police, the Youth Offending Service and South Tyneside Council, with the aim of protecting youngsters from becoming a victim of crime or from offending.
Since then, just under 600 children have been taken into police protection, and anti-social behaviour has been reduced by 40 per cent. Now the team behind the operation have been nominated for an award in the Safer Neighbourhoods category in this year’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
The team was nominated by Chief Inspector Brian Walker.
He said: “The operation involves police patrols in hotspot areas where youths aged 17 and under congregate.
“Officers engage with the youths and carry out risk assessments to identify anyone who is at significant risk.
“Children who are judged to be at risk are then taken to the Youth Offending premises where their parents are contacted, and asked to come along.
“It is at this point that the child, their parents, police and Youth Offending Services discuss any issues and offer advice and support.”
He added: “There have been some excellent results, such as children disclosing to Youth Offending staff physical and sexual abuse, bullying and other crimes that would otherwise never have come to light but for the existence of the operation.
“Arrests have also been made of adults buying alcohol for children, as well as youngsters found in possession of prohibited drugs.”
Pam Vedhara, specialist youth support manager at Operation Safe Stop, said: “Being nominated for this award highlights the importance and success of this partnership in South Tyneside.”