Project tackling youth disorder in North Tyneside sees a 40% reduction in anti-social behaviour

City centre Inspector Karen Madge and Chief Inspector Steve Wykes, of Northumbria Police. the force has issued warnings about anti-social behaviour in Newcastle city centre.
Northumbria Police on a city centre patrol Credit: Northumbria Police

Figures have shown a huge reduction in anti-social behaviour (ASB) across North Tyneside as work continues under Project Vita to tackle youth disorder.

The success follows a recent initiative funded by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness’ Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), where the Commissioner received a £1.6 million boost as part of a Government initiative to tackle violent crime.

Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A portion of that money, £130,000, was awarded to North Tyneside Council and with support from Northumbria Police is being used to steer teenagers away from a life of crime help prevent anti-social behaviour across the area.

The recent figures show reports of anti-social behaviour have fallen by almost 40 per cent across North Tyneside from April 2019 – April 2020.

The funding was granted at the beginning of this year and has been used to support additional patrols and work, alongside partners, to identify children involved in ASB and divert them away from a life of crime through workshops and positive activities such as sports and community groups.

The workshops provide one-on-one sessions where officers and partners can discuss the dangers and consequences of ASB, disorder and knife crime to help alter the mind-set of the participants so they are more likely to change their behaviour permanently.

The funding was also used to convert unused space in Wallsend Customer First Centre (CFC) into a base for local council and police, youth workers and community protection officers.

From there they have been able to identify and support vulnerable young people and build on their strengths, engage them in activities and help them develop and thrive. Wallsend has seen the highest fall across North Tyneside with a 47.8 per cent fall in anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Carole Burdis, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement said: “The success of this initiative so far is testament to the hard work and dedication of our community protection staff, the Police, and our partners in the community.

Another important strand to the initiative is the immediate follow up by Children’s Services and other partners where required. Enabling regular early and preventative interventions to keep the participants engaged and on the right path.

Northumbria Police and Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: “Project Vita has been a great success, and completely embodies the approach my VRU are taking to improve lives to prevent crime – engaging with young people, and then working with a number of services to deliver meaningful interventions to them.

“By working with the young people, we can then support with a range of services to engage them and provide activities that will deter them away from anti-social behaviour.

“Through this approach we have been able to see some fantastic results in the reduction of ASB and shows why this approach is so important.

“Understanding the root causes, in this instance lack of provision, and working with those young people to overcome this, has far greater benefits than constantly working against those young people. So I’m delighted to see this approach being taken.”

Residents can report criminal or anti-social behaviour confidentially to the Police via 101 or on the Northumbria Police website.