Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Praise for pioneering anti-social behaviour team

North Wales Assembly Member Janet Ryder has praised the work of a pioneering team tackling anti-social behaviour hotspots.

The Plaid Cymru AM for North Wales made her comments after visiting the Youth Justice team at its base in Derby Road, Brynteg, near Wrexham.

 The team of four in the picture  - Fred Derbyshire, Nick Edwards, Donna Shepherd and team leader Craig Matthews - work from an office above the local AM/PM store run by Dino Paletta, also pictured, who has been backing the scheme by providing free office space.

She said: "This team is targetting areas that have the potential to spiral into anti-social behaviour and I'm very much in favour of this kind of preventative work. If we can nip problems in the bud by providing alternative outlets for youngsters as well as getting them to inter-act more with older generations then the savings in terms of community relations and the actual cost of police intervention is huge."

The team is currently engaged in a 12-week project in the Brynteg area, where a public meeting agreed on a course of action for the team, who work closely with the police, local council and other agencies.

Janet Ryder added: "Twelve weeks seems a very short timescale to make an effective intervention and, although I'm sure it is making a real difference in key communities, perhaps the programme needs to have more time to make an impact in villages like Brynteg. I would welcome greater involvement by the team on a longer-term basis to engage with children from the age of eight upwards and ensure they stay out of trouble."

Funding for the project, which is backed by North Wales Police and Wrexham Council, comes to an end in March despite the positive feedback the scheme has been receiving. Janet Ryder said: "It's hard to demonstrate that youngsters haven't got involved in anti-social behaviour as a direct result of this team - how do you prove a negative? But I believe it's an effective way to improve our communities and deserves further support."

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