Troublemakers targeted as restoration work at South Shield park gets underway

Sgt Steve Prested with Councillor Anne Hetherington, Councillor Norman Dick and Councillor Gladys Hobson
Sgt Steve Prested with Councillor Anne Hetherington, Councillor Norman Dick and Councillor Gladys Hobson

The Grade II listed bandstand has stood pride of place within the West Park in South Shields since it opened to the public in 1894.

Cash was raised to bring the structure back to its former glory and as restoration gets underway other areas of the park are also being targeted to clean up the area and keep troublemakers at bay.

Officers regularly patrol the area while police dogs are taken for walks in the park during the night to ensure the area remains peaceful.

The Safe Stop car also calls into the park at times when police know young people are more likely to be out and about.

The scheme aims to identify young people who may be vulnerable - for whatever reason - and ensuring they are safe. Vulnerable young people will be taken home or to a place of safety to make sure they are not at risk of becoming involved in crime or a victim of crime.

Neighbourhood Sergeant Steve Prested, who covers the area, said: “The park is a great attraction for the local area and we want to make sure people are able to come along and enjoy the many activities it has on offer and are able to do so safely.

“We know young people like to meet up with their friends in the park and it is a great facility for them to be able to do so, we don’t want to stop them from using the park we just want to make sure this doesn’t get out of hand and turn into anti-social behaviour or become a nuisance for other people using the park.

“It’s important we take steps to make sure we address any concerns before they become an issue and are committed to making sure we do all we can along with our partners at the South Tyneside Council to make community areas even more enjoyable places for our local residents.”

As well as police patrols, litter picks are also being carried out in conjunction with businesses with plans for young offenders to carry out clean-up work as part of their rehabilitation within the community.

Coun Norman Dick, speaking on behalf of the three ward councillors, said: “West Park is a valuable community facility which is well-loved by local people across all generations.

“By working pro actively in partnership with the police we can make sure this beautiful natural resource remains in a pristine condition and is accessible for everyone to use at all times of the day.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Vera Baird, said: “The West Park is a lovely part of South Shields and I’m delighted to read that the band stand which stands watch over Stanhope Road will be restored to its former glory. The police will continue to work with the local council to tackle issues such as anti-social behaviour, we want the park to be enjoyed by people of all ages, not spoilt by a small minority.

“If you are enjoying a stroll in West Park and see anti-social behaviour there, please report it – by ringing 101.”