Programme to divert vulnerable people away from serious & organised crime launched in Newcastle
24 Oct | 10:55

Officers are working in partnership with organisations including The Enthusiasm Trust, Safe Newcastle and the Newcastle United Foundation

A new programme designed to stop young people from slipping into a life of crime has been launched in Newcastle.

Northumbria Police have received funding from the Home Office to run a project aimed at vulnerable individuals who are at risk of being drawn into serious or organised criminality.

Working in partnership with organisations including The Enthusiasm Trust, Safe Newcastle and the Newcastle United Foundation, officers hope to divert vulnerable young people away from serious and organised crime and the first step in the process is the delivery of a series of multi-agency workshops.

The first of five ‘Get Connected’ workshops was held at St James’ Park, in Newcastle, on Tuesday (October 23) and saw police join forces with safeguarding experts and partner organisations to deliver of a number of compelling sessions.

Detective Superintendent Peter Bent, of Northumbria Police’s Crime Department, said: “Serious and organised crime is corrosive and brings misery to families across our region.

“As a result, tackling highly sophisticated groups that infiltrate our communities and undermine our society is a priority for the Force.

“The Home Office funding we have secured will enable us to work with our partners to deliver an innovative, multi-agency diversion programme designed to prevent young people, especially those at greatest risk, from pursuing lives involving criminality.

“We are working with The Enthusiasm Trust, a charity who have worked with several Forces across the country to help divert young people away from lives involving serious crime.

“This is a really exciting programme and the Force is extremely grateful to have the support of the Safe Newcastle partnership and partners such as The Enthusiasm Trust and Newcastle United Foundation to assist us to deliver it.”

Over the coming months, bespoke interventions will be held with vulnerable individuals including one-to-one mentoring, parental engagement and a range of other planned activities to broaden the skills, opportunities and horizons of young people.

The initiative will be led by The Enthusiasm Trust, a Derby-based charity that has worked with the Home Office and a number of other police forces across the country regarding youth intervention and diverting individuals away from serious and organised crime.

Joe Russo and Caleb Jackson, of The Enthusiasm Trust who will lead the sessions, said: “We are excited, enthused and looking forward to working with Get Connected partners in Tyneside, to develop a programme that addresses the issues around youth crime”

All five workshops will be held at St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United, with club staff working alongside police and partners to educate young people and offer educational alternatives to criminality.

Steve Mack, Community Programme Manager at Newcastle United Foundation, said: “Newcastle United Foundation has a strong track record engaging with young people tackling anti-social behaviour, knife crime, youth violence and providing young people with opportunities to help them make positive life choices.

“The Newcastle United badge helps us engage with, and have an impact upon the lives of, people that other organisations may not be able to reach.

“I am delighted to be working with Northumbria Police to talk about some of the opportunities that are available to young people as an alternative to getting involved in criminal activity.”

Chair of Safe Newcastle, Cllr Habib Rahman, added: “Helping to steer teenagers away from serious and organised crime is a fundamentally important part of policing - but the police cannot do this on their own which is why Safe Newcastle backs this multi-agency approach.

“Young people are our future so if we can help them make a positive contribution to their communities then we all benefit.

“These one-to-one mentoring sessions to help young people can’t start quickly enough in my opinion, and I wish them every success.”

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