The talented team at Safetyworks! have been busy teaching schoolchildren about the very serious affects anti-social behaviour can have on the people in their communities, asking them to consider how it would feel to fall victim to such offences.
The sessions reinforce the work which goes on across our Force area, tackling anti-social behaviour such as fly-tipping and loitering.
This week scores of school children, college students and community groups made their way through the doors of the interactive learning centre, based in the city’s west end to learn more about fly-tipping, graffiti and harassment.
Community Support Officers Claire Jones and Nichola Bone conduct the sessions, which are based on real-world scenarios and ask youngsters to put themselves in the shoes of someone suffering the effects of anti-social behaviour.
Claire said: “We want students to know what it feels like to be the victim and always ask them the question, how would you feel if this was happening to you?
“We take our groups through a range of scenarios where we get them to identify the characteristics of anti-social behaviour and then get them to think about how this behaviour could affect someone who might be elderly, or vulnerable.”
Nichola added: “We use our mini Sainsbury’s store to bring our scenarios to life. We demonstrate how someone might feel walking into a shop when there’s a large group standing outside shouting and making a lot of noise, and then ask the students to think about who they might contact if they see anti-social behaviour taking place.
“Safetyworks! Is all about prevention – if we can educate and prevent young people from getting involved in anti-social behaviour in the first instance, then our officers will have more time to engage with members of the public and devote more time to dealing with other types of more serious crimes.”
Through joint sessions with Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) and St John Ambulance, groups are taught to think about how anti-social behaviour can have an impact on people from all walks of life and how their behaviour can affect people in their homes, on their way to school or work, in the shops and anywhere else where they might feel vulnerable, intimidated or harassed.
Anti-social behaviour sessions look at the impact of hoax calls, wasting emergency services’ time, arson, criminality and the consequences these can have.
Safetyworks! was established and is managed by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, working in partnership with Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner Dame Vera Baird QC, Northumbria Police, Nexus, St John’s Ambulance and Sainsbury’s.
Dame Vera said: “Safetyworks! is a great facility that really benefits those who walk through the doors. Often young people don’t realise the impact their behaviour can have on others. They’re out enjoying themselves and don’t always see the potential effect on those who are more vulnerable- these session are devised to make them think.”
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, Area Manager – Community Safety, Lynsey McVay said: “Anti-social behaviour can be damaging for both community residents and businesses. We – and our partners – are continually working to find ways to address the consequences of ASB as well as working with communities in an attempt to prevent ASB from occurring in the first place. Activities such as fly-tipping, malicious fire setting and graffiti affect the whole community and we will continue to work tirelessly to help prevent it.
“These Safetyworks! sessions will hopefully make these young people think about the impact and consequences of ASB and hopefully help spread the message that we and our partners take the need to address ASB seriously.”
Follow the hashtag #WhatMattersToYou to see the work we are doing in your local area to tackle anti-social behaviour.