Anti-social Behaviour Awareness Week
Addressing anti-social behaviour is one of the key priorities in my police and crime plan. We know that, at its worst, it can cause conflict in communities, disruption to businesses, and make some residents feel that they are unable to leave their homes. We also know that anti-social behaviour that goes unaddressed can lead to more serious criminality, particularly for very vulnerable young people.
In order to properly address antisocial behaviour we must acknowledge how incredibly complex this issue can be. Within Gwent’s boundaries lie vast areas of countryside, small valleys communities, busy towns and Wales’ third largest city. We have areas of high affluence and of extreme poverty. What our residents see as anti-social behaviour can look very different across these communities.
Crucially, not all anti-social behaviour is criminal, and this is not solely a policing issue. That is why we work closely with partners such as the local authorities, schools and youth groups to provide funding for initiatives that offer diversionary and support services to those young people most at risk of engaging in this kind of behaviour.
For example, we provide annual funding to Newport Live Positive Futures which provides sporting and other activities across Gwent’s five counties. This can range from typical drop-in sessions in areas where we know there is a problem with anti-social behaviour, to more targeted one to one work with young people who have been identified as particularly vulnerable.
The choice of activity depends on what is well received in the area. For example, skateboarding is proving to be a popular choice in Caerphilly where many new skateparks have sprung up over the last few years, while in Blaenau Gwent more creative activities such as DJing, graffiti art and jewellery making seem to be popular.
I also took the decision to allocate my entire community fund, an annual pot of £300,000, for initiatives that support children and young people. This is money that is available for non-profit organisations to bid for to provide services that best suit their local area. We know that our communities are in the best place to understand the issues are in their area, and that they often know the best ways to deal with them.
Applications for my 2022/23 are now open, and more details are available on my website.
By offering young people the opportunity to take part in these positive activities, make new friends and learn new skills, and by creating a support network around them of mentors and trusted professionals, we are reinforcing good behaviours, and helping to set the ground work that will allow vulnerable young people to have a happy and healthy future.