More than 20 teenagers face action in police blitz on troublemakers in Sunderland communities

More than 20 teenagers have been faced action under a police crackdown on troublemakers in parts of Sunderland.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 9:27 am
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 11:11 am
Police officers, seen here on patrol in Hetton, have been cracking down on unruly teenagers.

Officers working with Sunderland City Council under Operation Avalanche have issued more than 20 teenagers with antisocial behaviour notices in a blitz on troublemakers in the Hetton and Houghton areas.

The initiative is spearheaded by Inspector Nick Gjorven, and came in response to concerns raised by residents about the behaviour of some youngsters who had been causing problems in the area.

The operation has already seen uniformed and plain-clothed officers, with ward councillors and council antisocial behaviour officers, carrying out dedicated patrols in problem areas to detect and disrupt crime, stop and search suspects and offer reassurance to residents.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Police say that Operation Avalanche has already had positive results.

Operation Avalanche began on January 18, and Saturday marked two weeks since the project began.

But Inspector Gjorven believes it has already had a significant impact.

He said: “Operation Avalanche was about tackling the issues most important to the communities we serve.

“We’ve had some great results with 24 youths identified who have now been served with formal antisocial behaviour warnings, with letters sent home to their parents reaffirming this behaviour must change.

“Should they re-offend, those individuals and their parents will receive a home visit by the council’s antisocial behaviour team, housing providers and police.

“We’ve issued three dispersal notices banning groups of people from congregating in areas of Hetton and Houghton, while 12 vehicles believed to be involved in criminality have been uplifted.

“Last week, officers along with Chief Superintendent Sarah Pitt and ward councillors also went on joint patrols to speak to residents.

“While we acknowledge anti-social behaviour is caused by a minority, their actions can have a long-lasting effect on our community. That’s why we will continue to maintain this momentum over the coming weeks.”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, who raised some concerns from residents to officers, welcomed the “great work”.

She said: “Everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe where they live. Nobody should be left feeling intimidated or anxious due to the behaviours of young people in their area.

“Northumbria Police has shown that firm action will be taken against those responsible for antisocial behaviour. Officers want to catch it, stop it and prevent it from happening again.”

Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council and Chair of the Safer Sunderland Partnership, Councillor Michael Mordey, added: “I know the progress and the results of this police and council partnership will be welcomed across Hetton.

“Information from residents and community action is guiding our partnership as it tackles anti-social behaviour and crime. There is no place for bad and anti-social behaviour anywhere.”

A mobile police station was put up in Hetton on Sunday, January 19 and remained in place for a week, with an open invite to members of the public to drop in and chat to their neighbourhood police team.

Officers have also planned a Partners & Communities Together meeting on Tuesday, February 5 at Hetton & District WMC at 6pm.