A community safety group has been urged to spread crime prevention messages to young school children.
Members of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership say it should be looking to take work of its Community Safety Team into schools as much as they can.
The team, which was launched earlier this year, hosts a series of community hubs in the area, but they have been urged to spread news of their work to schools.
Primary school children in particular need to be targeted, members said, to make sure children get the message before it’s too late.
Coun Jim Longridge said: “There’s a real importance in having these community hubs in schools.
“I do think it’s really important to get to groups at a young age.
“It needs addressing early enough, by the time they are teenagers the damage has been done.
“The impact it has in school is really important.”
The collaboration between police, council officers and the fire service officially launched in February this year and looks to increase community confidence and cohesion while cutting down on crime.
They also interact with residents at weekly drop-in sessions offering crime prevention advice.
Sally Robinson, director of children’s and joint commissioning services on Hartlepool Borough Council said at the recent meeting of the partnership they want to help young people in anyway they can.
She said: “We do have early help services which access that age range.
“The biggest thing for us is to have services to improve well-being.
“We are open to any support that can be put in place.”
Based at Hartlepool Police Station, the team, led by Hartlepool’s Neighbourhood Chief Inspector, meet every morning to consider the priorities for the day based on calls received from the previous 24 hours.
Chief Inspector Nigel Burnell, chair of youth offending board, said at the meeting the scheme was progressing well so far, and he is keen to make people aware of the work the partnership is doing.
He said: “It’s about helping to nip problems in the bud and problem solving.
“Staff on the ground are definitely feeling the benefit in terms of how it is being built up.
“There has been lots of positives, the groups are working well together.”
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service