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Council unveils plans to tackle anti-social behaviour after pilot success in Droylsden
Wednesday 28th March 2018 @ 16:28 by Tom Greggan
Droylsden Hyde News Tameside

Tameside Council have unveiled plans to tackle anti-social behaviour across the borough, after a pilot project in Droylsden reduced it by half.

The Council’s Youth Service conducted the pilot using a ‘detached’ team of youth workers, who visited places where young people congregate to engage them and try to challenge their behaviour, rather than just moving them, and the problem, onto another area.

After success in Droylsden, the Youth Service’s two detached teams will now be increased to a third team next month and rolled out to other areas.

The project will be of particular interest to residents and business owners in Hyde, after anti-social behaviour in the town made national headlines. A detached team has already started work there, and a third area will be targeted next month.

Emma Varnam, Tameside Council’s Assistant Director for Operations and Neighbourhoods, said: “It’s a minority of young people that cause problems. The detached teams went out on the streets to where we knew we would encounter groups of young people and built trusted relationships to support them with any issues they may have with the long-term goal of using that relationship to encourage young people to understand the consequences of their actions and to make different choices.

“If you move young people somewhere else it just impacts on others. It’s about empowering young people to make better choices instead.”

Police in Droylsden say that work by the Youth Service saw a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour in the town, and they have the statistics to prove it.

Between December 2015 and November 2016, there was an average of 58.17 calls to police about anti-social behaviour in the town. Between December 2016 and November 2017, the average number of calls fell to 28.4 a month- a reduction of 48.8%.

The youth workers also worked with the local community and business owners to support them and gain an understanding of the problem.

The detached teams visited local businesses to help resolve any issues and interacted with residents and visitors in town centres to listen to genuine concerns and challenge myths.

After a team supported one store and challenged a group of young people about their behaviour, problems stopped and one young person even visited the store to apologise.

Emma Varnam added: “It’s about negotiating an understanding and we are there to try and broker a relationship between two parties which generates a change in behaviour.”

Businesses have praised the youth workers for their help. The manager of one convenience store wrote to the council to thank them, saying their efforts had reduced problems.

The owner of an off-licence did the same, adding: “Before, kids use to come into the shop and cause trouble all the time but now it’s much better, which I and my whole staff appreciate. They are doing a fantastic job.”

Young people are now signposted to youth clubs and other activities. One project saw young people work with a not-for-profit Community Interest Company called Prime Active Communities (PAC), to create a film about the problems, using media, music and technology to engage them.

PAC also worked with six secondary schools on an interactive drama as part of Hate Crime Awareness Week and is involved in another production that features young people and helps analyse and challenge behaviour.

There are youth activities continuing across the borough, such as youth club activities, youth council work and projects like Cyclops, which focuses on bike maintenance. Any young people interested in joining in with activities can call 0161 342 3799.

To report anti-social behaviour or request advice, ring Tameside Council’s main call centre on 0161 342 8355 or contact Greater Manchester Police on 101 to report a non-emergency incident or 999 in an emergency.