Crime-fighting pilot extended in Washington community

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A PILOT project is set to be extended after getting off to a flying start in reducing crime and improving housing in an area plagued by antisocial behaviour.

The Sulgrave and Concord Neighbourhood Management Team was set up in October last year with the aim of tackling housing decline in an area badly affected by disorder.

Today, it will be extended for a further 12 months.

The scheme also worked in close partnership with Wearside Women in Need in helping tackle domestic violence in what was deemed a high priority zone.

Each day, five women on Wearside suffer abuse at the hands of their partners. During the past two years, 3,757 arrests have been made by police investigating domestic violence in Sunderland.

The specially trained team have been going out to all reports of domestic violence on Friday and Saturday nights in the Concord and Sulgrave areas since last October.

Leaders at the project say they have already achieved a reduction in offences, as well as improvements to previously neglected properties.

Councillor Harry Trueman, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “This pilot project has achieved significant successes which the 12-month funding extension from the council will help us build upon.

“Having a community base really helps form closer working relationships with local residents and landlords, and has encouraged more people considered as ‘hard to reach’ to come forward and share their views, concerns and problems with us.

“This has given us the chance to tell them more about the advice and support available.

“Helping people with things like drug and alcohol dependency, health and welfare issues can hopefully improve their quality of life.”

The key objectives of the scheme are to:

•Reduce crime

•Tackle domestic abuse

•Make sure the neighbourhood is a safe place to live, work and play

•Involve people in the community and improving access to services.

Councillor Trueman added: “This team is helping to turn around a community that was facing continual decline with extremely high levels of crime and antisocial behaviour, including domestic violence and re-offending which are now being reduced.”

Councillor Jill Fletcher, ward councillor for Washington North, said: “The team constantly strive to go above and beyond to support residents and landlords in the area and change the attitudes and behaviours of many local residents.

“They’ve been able to understand the root causes of the problems being experienced in the Sulgrave and Concord area and work with the community to do something about them.”

Inspector Paul Stewart, of Northumbria Police, said: “It’s excellent news that we can continue the good work already being carried out at the base with this funding extension.

“I hope people continue to come along to the base and take advantage of the services on offer to them.”