How police went 'above and beyond' to tackle anti-social behaviour near dog park

Business owners have praised police officers who helped achieve an 80% reduction in anti-social behaviour in East Boldon.

Andrew and Rachel Gillies run Odin Valley Dog Park and after opening earlier this year, they noticed the behaviour of teenagers nearby and feared it could affect both customers and animals.

They contacted Northumbria Police and community support officers (CSOs) Natalie Gibson and Gayle Muizelaar visited them for a chat.

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Now, after seeing incidents drop by up to 80%, Andrew has thanked to the team for going “above and beyond”.

From left CSO Natalie Gibson, Chief Inspector Phil Baker, owner of Odin Valley Dog Park Andrew Gillies with Odin and CSO Gayle Muizelaar.

Since the beginning of 2020, police have set up targeted patrols in areas of East Boldon to tackle anti-social behaviour.

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They identified a number of youths from Sunderland and other parts of South Tyneside coming into the area, then set up home visits to their parents to discuss the matter.

Andrew said: “In our business, we quite often see owners bring dogs who can be nervous or sensitive to noise. So we were concerned about hearing smashing glass and incidents of anti-social behaviour nearby.

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From left, CSO Natalie Gibson, Chief Inspector Phil Baker, owner of Odin Valley Dog Park Andrew Gillies with Odin and CSO Gayle Muizelaar.

“As a result, I went online and flagged the issue on the police’s website in the hope of getting some advice on how best to deal with the problem.

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"Within a few days, Natalie had contacted me along with Gayle and they came down for a chat.

“It’s made a massive difference and we’ve seen the number of incidents massively tail off.

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"We know it’s not something that will be solved overnight, but I’m really impressed with what they’ve been doing and it’s only right to give them praise.

“They deserve that recognition. Often the police can get a bad name and all you hear about are problems in communities, so my wife and I wanted to say a big thank you for all they are doing. It’s hugely appreciated.”

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Chief Inspector Phil Baker added: “The team, in particular Natalie and Gayle, have put in a lot of hard work in East Boldon so it’s fantastic to hear that it’s making a big difference. They should be very proud of what they have achieved.

“However, we will not rest on our laurels and we know anti-social behaviour is not something that can be stopped overnight.”

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