Shining the light on anti-social behaviour

PARTNERS UNITE ... Firefighter  Kevin Laidler and Inspector Ian King join (Back L to R) Alex D'Ambrosie from the council's services for young people, Coun  Tracey Dixon, Steve Malley of South Shields Community Fire Station and Coun  Joan Atkinson
PARTNERS UNITE ... Firefighter Kevin Laidler and Inspector Ian King join (Back L to R) Alex D'Ambrosie from the council's services for young people, Coun Tracey Dixon, Steve Malley of South Shields Community Fire Station and Coun Joan Atkinson

A RANGE of activities will be on offer during a campaign to crack down on anti-social behaviour in South Tyneside.

South Tyneside Council is teaming up with the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Northumbria Police and South Tyneside Homes to run the Lighter Nights campaign.

No one should suffer in silence, I would urge anyone who feels they are a victim of anti-social behaviour to come forward.

Chief Inspector Dave Willett

Coinciding with the clocks going forward this Sunday and the Easter holidays, the campaign will run from April 2 to 19.

The particular focus of the campaign will be to try and reduce grass and rubbish fires as there tends to be a seasonal increase at this time of year and a spate of deliberate fires has already been seen this month at Boldon Nature Reserve.

The programme of educational and diversionary activities are also aimed at combatting under-age drinking and criminal damage.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for area management and community safety at South Tyneside Council, said: “We know the proactive approach taken by the Lighter Night campaign makes a real difference. Over the past year we have seen a 43 per cent reduction in anti-social fires when compared to the previous year.

“The campaign features increased patrols and walkabouts to educate young people which we know is valued by residents who appreciate the actions taken to combat anti-social behaviour.”

Coun Joan Atkinson, lead member for children, young people and families, said: “As the nights become lighter it is only natural that young people will want to spend more time outdoors. While we want them to enjoy the better weather, it’s important that they don’t get drawn into activities that could be dangerous to them and other people.

“By working in partnership we’ve had considerable success in recent years in raising awareness of inconsiderate behaviour and encouraging young people to consider the consequences of their actions. This proactive campaign allows them to channel their energies into constructive activities with their friends while, at the same time, learning how anti-social behaviour affects the whole community.”

South Tyneside Chief Inspector Dave Willett, said, “This operation is another example of our commitment to working with our partners to prevent and reduce anti-social behaviour.

“This is a great opportunity for the public to come forward, speak to us and tell us about the issues that matter to them.

“During the lighter evenings I would urge people to consider how their actions impact on others. Think about what you’re doing, something like hanging around on the street may seem harmless enough to some people, but to a vulnerable person it can be very intimidating - If you wouldn’t want it going on where you live, don’t do it.”

He added: “No one should suffer in silence, I would urge anyone who feels they are a victim of anti-social behaviour to come forward.”

To find out more about the activities on offer, contact Alex D’Ambrosie, service manager 424 6341.