Move to reduce crime

A NEW study about anti-social behaviour in parks and open spaces is set to be used to help tackle crime and improve safety for hundreds of youngsters.

The research, which looks at the types, causes and consequences of anti-social behaviour at parks across east Durham, will help shape the work of the county’s area action partnerships as well as the Safe Durham Partnership and its member organisations.

The report has been produced by the council’s safer and stronger overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillor Dr David Boyes, chairman of the scrutiny committee, said: “The vast majority of people who visit the county’s wide range of parks and open spaces utilise these areas in an enjoyable manner.

“However, the anti-social actions of a minority can have a significant effect on other users and the surrounding community as well as impacting on staff and resources.”

The study looks at current initiatives and policies, including the County Durham Play Strategy and Playbuilder as well as prevention and enforcement work by the Safe Durham Partnership, such as the seizure of alcohol from underage drinkers, fixed penalty notices for environmental crimes and test purchase operations at off licences.

Field study visits were also carried out.

by members of the committee and representatives from the council’s safer neighbourhood units.

Information from the study and the earlier review will be passed on to the Home Office as part of the council’s response to a national consultation on anti-social behaviour.

The study will also be shared with area action partnerships and safer neighbourhood units to help them identify potential ways of tackling the problem in parks and open spaces.