Call for more leisure activities to help drive down antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool
Calls have been made to educate children on the dangers of antisocial behaviour from a young age and provide them with a range of leisure activities as an alternative.
Hartlepool Borough Council Audit and Governance Committee has been carrying out an investigation into antisocial behaviour in the town throughout the municipal year.
Hartlepool’s Youth Council has taken part in the investigation, designing their own questionnaire to ask other young people about their experiences of antisocial behaviour in Hartlepool, and results were presented to the Audit and Governance Committee.
Results from the questionnaire showed young people are calling for more activities to be arranged in the town as the number one answer to help tackle antisocial behaviour.
Councillors echoed these calls, and also stressed the importance of reaching out to children in school at a primary level to show them the dangers of antisocial behaviour.
It came after the consultation showed young people responded to presentations shown as part of the Antisocial Behaviour Awareness Days, which take place for Year 8 pupils.
Coun Brenda Harrison said: “It’s a great thing, but we need more of it.
“At the age of 13 they’re taking that in and responding in a positive way, but what about pre-13, what about post-13.
“I know it’s all to do with cuts, but at the same time we’ve got to try and get more of that kind of education in schools for young people.”
Coun Brenda Loynes said: “It’s brilliant, I do think younger children should be brought in as well.
“Catching them early is the best thing.”
Councillors also noted how the survey showed young people felt they were unfairly blamed for anti-social behaviour, supporting previous council findings two thirds of antisocial behaviour is committed by adults.
Coun Marjorie James supported how educating children from a younger age can stop them falling into antisocial behaviour linked with drug and alcohol abuse.
She said: “A number of young people are drawn into drug activity and distribution of drugs and can quite easily become addicted themselves.
“Prevention is always better than cure. If we can get into schools and work with young people even before they get to secondary school, so in primary, then potentially we can turn off the tap off of both recruits and victims.
“There needs to be a very clear strategy of how we tackle the anti-social behaviour and drug and alcohol related activities that are quite prominent amongst certain sections of our adult population.”
Coun Barbara Ward praised the after school offers in the town for providing children with different activities in a safe and secure space.
She said: “Schools do some great activities after school as well, you worry about your child’s safety, that’s a big thing now, but it’s a great time that they can socialise and do different activities and be home at an appropriate time.”
Councillors also unanimously praised the Youth Council for carrying out their consultation on anti-social behaviour in the town.