Partnership approach on derby day

24 Mar 2016 11:50 AM

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Police and partners in Newcastle work together to help young people on derby day.

Officers from Central Area Command linked up with youth organisations StreetWise and Space 2 and ran a number of initiatives aimed at stopping youth Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) on match day.

Joint patrols by officers and outreach workers were carried out in key areas of the town on Sunday, including Eldon Green and the Monument area, with the aiming of identifying young people who could potentially become involved in ASB or disorder.

Lots of young people were identified and spoken to, alcohol was seized from some and advice was given to others without the need for further police intervention.

Space 2 provided their building in the centre of Newcastle to use on match day and it was used by lots of youngsters who were able to play pool and spend time with their friends away from the football crowds.

The idea behind all of the activity was to offer young people in Newcastle a safe space and positive activities to get involved in on derby day and help keep them from becoming involved in any disorder.

Newcastle's police cadets also played a vital part in Sunday's operation working alongside officers and youth workers and engaging with the young people and local businesses in the city centre.

Newcastle Chief Inspector Alison Best said: "Previously at derby matches we have seen young people who haven't been to the football become swept up and involved in disorder.

"Our aim was to try and stop this by working with our partners and offering these young people things to do in the city on the day. Thanks to the help of Intu Eldon Square and The Gate, who paid for the five outreach workers on the day, and StreetWise and Space2 we were able to offer lots of different initiatives and activities that meant youngsters could come off the streets and into a safe place for the day.

"As we've seen from media coverage people do get carried away at football matches and a decision that is made in the heat of the moment and as part of a crowd can lead to long lasting consequences and a criminal record.

"We want to do all we can to help young people avoid this and that's why the partnership working on Sunday was so important."

Mandy Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of StreetWise, said: "The partnership worked really well and certainly highlighted how a combined approached enabled us all to meet the needs of young people, whilst keeping them safe and preventing anything negative escalating. It was great working together with police, other partners and the young people in Newcastle and we are looking forward to future opportunities."

Jeff Hurst Chief Exec at Space 2 said: "We were more than pleased to be able to work with the police  to provide a place for young people to access on derby day. It worked really well and we were glad to be part of the team."

The partnership initiative at Space 2 supports the ongoing work of the Football Neighbourhood Policing Team who are regularly engaging with young people across the region to stop them from becoming involved in disorder at football matches.

Sgt Neil Pacey, who has worked in the unit since it was formed in August 2014, said: "Many young people simply don’t understand that shouting and being aggressive at a football match is still a criminal offence and it could see them handed a football banning order.

"For many teenagers this can have a huge impact on their life. It means they can no longer watch the sport they love and it could also seem them ruin their relationships and career prospects.

"Our work is all about encouraging young people to work with us and to help make sure they don't make a silly decision that could end up ruining the rest of their lives. This kind of partnership work is vital in achieving that."

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