A new community club for young people in Caerphilly is one of the initiatives helping to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town centre.
‘Fab Fridays’ was launched by CSO Matthew Pearce from the Caerphilly Neighbourhood Policing Team with CSO Lewis Parsons from British Transport Police (BTP) back in January 2015. Since then the number of reported incidents of anti-social behaviour has fallen by 14% in the St Martins ward (January to May, comparing 2014 and 2015). In just the last month, incidents of anti-social behaviour have fallen by almost 30% (May 2015 compared to May 2014).
The club runs every Friday night from 6pm to 8pm at Twyn School. Each week approximately 25 youngsters between the ages of 10 and 17 come along to take part in organised activities such as football, basketball, touch rugby and dodgeball.
Positive Futures have played a key role in establishing the club, and provided access to equipment such as a portable climbing wall and a Sports Development Officer to attend each week. Caerphilly County Borough Council also helped to secure the school as a venue as well as £1,000 of funding from Street Games for sports equipment.
To help the club run during the darker months, Speedfast Tool Hire in Caerphilly also provided outdoor lighting and a generator free of charge until the clocks went forward.
The idea was born after CSO Lewis Parsons from British Transport Police ran a number of successful rugby events during summer 2014 at Owain Glyndwr Park. The events aimed to divert local youngsters away from anti-social behaviour into taking part in more positive sporting activities.
CSO Matthew Pearce received the Outstanding Contribution to Local Policing Award at the Gwent Police Awards last month (May 2015) for his work on the project.
He said: “Each week either myself, or CSO John McDonnell go along to the club to interact with the young people, along with either CSO Lewis Parsons or CSO Sam Thomas from British Transport Police. A Sports Development Officer from Positive Futures is also present each week and we’ve had great feedback from the youngsters that join us each week. We would love to see even more young people from the local community there on a Friday – it’s free and there’s always something to do!
“We wanted to start the club to provide young people with a positive way to spend their Friday evenings. We are pleased that the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour has reduced and we are hoping to continue to improve upon this.”
Lewis has also won an award for his part in setting up the scheme. He said: “Due to a large number of calls at Caerphilly Railway Station, I decided to contact CSO Matt Pearce and John Poyner from Caerphilly Council to set up some distraction projects within the Caerphilly area. This started with a Street Rugby event during August 2014. As this was so successful, we decided to start something more permanent; hence the Fab Fridays project was born!
“We have gone from having 44 calls in 6 months about anti-social behaviour and railway related crime to just three since January! This project has seen me we win PCSO of The Year for BTP and has won a lot of praise within the force. This really shows that partnership and multi-agency working really is the way forward for tackling youth crime and anti-social behaviour.”
Cllr Nigel George, Caerphilly CBC’s Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure Services, added: “The feedback we’ve received so far from local young people who attend ‘Fab Fridays’ has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s great that by working together, we’ve been able to facilitate a local community club which is having such positive outcomes in the area. My thanks must go to everyone involved for their hard work in making this initiative such a success.”
It is just one of the partnership initiatives which are aiming to reduce and prevent anti-social behaviour – a current Your Voice priority for the St Martins ward.
Caerphilly Inspector Gareth Jones has also authorised the use of a Dispersal Order in the town centre over three weekends in the last month. The Dispersal Order (issued under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014) provides Police Officers and Community Support Officers with the powers to direct anyone to leave this specified area if they are involved in anti-social behaviour. If they return to that area after being moved on, they face being arrested.
Source:: Gwent Police News