Church and state help kick crime out of South Tyneside – including seizure of 108kg of illegal tobacco and 5,000 cigs

Chris Fuller
Chris Fuller

A CLAMPDOWN on on-street drinking and the seizure of 5,000 illegal cigarettes are just two of the success stories claimed last year in South Tyneside by a crime-fighting partnership.

Those involved will be concentrating on such positives next week when they reveal a reduction in the borough’s crime rate.

Reported crime fell by one per cent between April and the end of December of last year, members of South Tyneside Council’s overview and scrutiny committee are to be told.

The committee is to receive a report on the impact made by South Tyneside Community Safety Partnership, a body consisting of representatives of the local authority, police, fire service, probation staff, clinical commissioning group and other organisations.

Positive crime trends to be explored over the eight-month period include a reduction in youth-related anti-social behaviour of 24 per cent, a 27 per cent decrease in burglaries and a report showing that 98 per cent of borough residents feel safe or fairly safe in their neighbourhoods.

Some of the key successes to be highlighted at next Tuesday’s meeting in South Shields Town Hall include the 34 people trained to become domestic and sexual abuse champions last year, and a programme of 20 hate crime sessions delivered at South Tyneside College, schools and for councillors and community groups.

Over the period in question, more than 108kg of illegal hand-rolling tobacco, 5,000 cigarettes and 147 fake designer T-shirts were seized by the council’s trading standards team.

Alcohol Concern’s Blue Light project helped deal with visible transient drinkers in South Shields town centre, with the support of Father Chris Fuller, of the town’s St Hilda’s Church.

When the partnership met at the end of last year, members identified a six-point programme of priority areas to address in 2015, including putting victims first, tackling domestic and sexual abuse and improving community confidence.

But the report does accept that the implications of the proposed reduction in Northumbria Police force area commands from six to three, leading to South Tyneside’s being paired with Sunderland’s, “are still uncertain”.

Partnership chairman Coun Tracey Dixon will present a report to the overview committee.

It says: “While the steps taken clearly demonstrate the success that the partnership is having, there are still improvements to be made.

“The key actions from this financial year include the delivery of a GP domestic abuse referral project, to continue to develop the Blue Light project in partnership with Alcohol Concern and promote the consequences of crime via high-visibility community payback schemes.”

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