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Anti-social behaviour falls in Throckley after police identifies those involved and finds them a job
15 Mar | 10:32
Anti-social behaviour has drastically fallen in a Newcastle suburb after police in the area identified those involved - and found them a job.
 
Residents in Throckley had reported a spike in disorder in the lead up to Bonfire Night last year caused by teenage children.
 
They reported large groups of teenagers being verbally abusive, intimidating local people and drinking in the street.
 
Neighbourhood officers from Northumbria Police worked with partners to carry out extensive enquiries to identify many of those involved.
 
But rather than bring forward criminal prosecutions, police paid a visit to the parents of those involved in the disorder - and gave the teenagers a chance to turn their lives around.
 
Nine teenage school children were enlisted on a course to help give them basic qualifications in English and Maths and now one 16-year-old boy has even found himself a job.
 
Police in Throckley say reports of anti-social behaviour have fallen since the children had been steered away from a life of crime.
 
And now residents in the area have praised the partnership approach that has helped make their local community a safer place to live.
 
Maureen Fitzgerald, 73, has lived in Throckley for 50 years and helps run projects at the local community hall for the children.
 
She said: "There definitely has been a reduction in anti-social behaviour and there hasn't been as many children just hanging around.
 
"When you went to Sainsbury's or past the dentist they were always hanging around in front of the shops or in the back alleys.
 
"They were always okay with me but there were a lot of people who were scared to walk past them or even leave their house.
 
"I think the fact the police have helped get them into work is very good because unfortunately a lot of them haven't been able to settle in school.
 
"I have got four grandchildren and I would not want them, or any other children, to end up leaving school and not have any prospects."
 
Maureen added: "When we came up here around 50 years ago Throckley was a lovely village and it has changed a lot.
 
"It has changed a lot and the money just hasn't been there to keep the place tidy or do things like litter picks so we do a lot of work at the community hall.
 
"We also put on youth clubs to try and keep the kids out of trouble and the police have been great. They are always coming down and chatting to us to find out what the issues are.
 
"There still is a real sense of community here and the police have definitely been part of that with the work they've been doing."
 
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “This work demonstrates that when an issue is raised, by working together we can reduce the impact on the local community.
 
“It’s pleasing to hear that this proactive approach has resulted in these young people changing their ways for the better.
 
“Anti-social behaviour is not tolerated in Throckley and Northumbria Police will continue to crack down on those causing trouble in their neighbourhoods.”
 
PCSO Darren Atkinson is part of the Newcastle North Neighbourhood Policing Team and worked with Maureen to identify the issues in the area.
 
He says the activities being put on by the community hall in partnership with the charity Play In Newcastle have helped police steer children away from trouble.
 
Darren also praised Michelle Mitchell, a youth worker at the charity, for the role she played in helping to get the youngsters into educational programmes.
 
He said: "We know that anti-social behaviour can ruin the lives of more vulnerable residents and create real factions in local communities.
 
"There was a problem in Throckley where we were receiving reports of large groups of children loitering in the village and intimidating the public.
 
"With the help of Michelle, Maureen and other volunteers at the community hall we have been able to find things for these young people to do.
 
"They have been very responsive and now a number of them are enrolled in educational programmes, one of them is in work and we are also looking at getting them into an apprenticeship.
 
"It has been a great bit of problem solving that has enabled us to put these children back on the right path and helping to improve the lives of residents in the village."
 
Work in Throckley will continue with officers from the Newcastle North Neighbourhood Policing Team regularly visiting the village.
They work closely with Newcastle City Council and Darren Maudlin who is the community safety officer sitting on the Safe Newcastle board.
The community hall itself is also part-funded by the charity Greenwich Hospital who fund diversionary programmes for children across the country.
 
Officers are continuing to ask anyone who has information about crime or anti-social behaviour to report it to authorities.
 
If you want to contact police then call 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or fill in an online form at the Northumbria Police website at www.northumbria.police.uk.
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