Police to go into schools as part of anti-social behaviour crackdown

Police will be going into schools to speak to pupils about the damage caused by anti-social behaviour after a town centre was once again plagued by yobs.

Tuesday, 5th December 2017, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 8:15 am
Police walkabout in Houghton-le-Spring town centre. Chief Insp Mark Hall.

The Echo has recently reported on problems with teenagers throwing stones and other missiles at buses as they pass through the Houghton area.

Over last weekend, operator Go North East said that once again it had been forced into diverting buses on an evening to nearby Hillside Way because of the disruption, rather than go through the usual route of The Broadway past St Michael’s Church.

Police walkabout in Houghton-le-Spring town centre. Supt Steve Heatley talks with councillors Alex Scullion and Juliana Heron.

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Following a continuation of the problems with anti-social behaviour, Northumbria Police chiefs have today said that they will be going into the schools in the area and giving talks to youngsters on the harm that it can do.

Superintendent Steve Heatley said: “We’re very aware of the issues in Houghton, in particular around the town centre, and have been making progress around tackling this.

“A few weeks ago I was in the town myself to speak to local residents and local business to find out what was happening so that we could put together plans to tackle this and so far there has been some really good progress.

“Similar to what we have been doing in Sunderland and South Tyneside we are working closely with schools in the area and officers will be going into local schools to speak to pupils about anti-social behaviour and the impact this has on the local community.

Police walkabout in Houghton-le-Spring town centre. Chief Insp Mark Hall and Supt Steve Heatley.

“They may think it is harmless fun but their behaviour can be very intimidating to some people and we want to raise awareness of this, and also let them know what will happen if we find they’re involved.”

Supt Heatley added that since the spike in anti-social behaviour occurred last month, officers had seen a fall in complaints.

The Echo joined officers out on a patrol around the town centre a fortnight ago, in which they were accompanied by a number of town councillors.

Supt Heatley said: “It is worth noting that when we first saw the spike in anti-social behaviour in the town we received 30 reports in 20 days, this reduced significantly to three reports in 10 days which is encouraging.”

Police walkabout in Houghton-le-Spring town centre. Supt Steve Heatley talks with councillors Alex Scullion and Juliana Heron.

Speaking about an incident on Sunday in which a bus was targeted, the officer added: “We will be investigating the incident involving the bus and look to identify those who were responsible, this was very much an isolated incident compared to the previous issues and took place away from the town centre.

“I want to encourage those who witness anti-social behaviour to come forward and report this to us, as it is only by us being informed that we can do something about.

“There will be regular patrols throughout the town centre in the coming days and anyone concerned can speak to an officer on patrol.”

Police walkabout in Houghton-le-Spring town centre. Chief Insp Mark Hall and Supt Steve Heatley.