Police monitor schools in battle to curb youth crime

PUBLISHED: 03:21 07 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:20 24 May 2010

POLICE officers across Weston and Worle are set to come down hard on troublesome youths after it was revealed a quarter of criminal damage is committed by 10-16 year-old males

POLICE officers across Weston and Worle are set to come down hard on troublesome youths after it was revealed a quarter of criminal damage is committed by 10-16 year-old males.In January officers in each beat team will work the same shift patterns so they can turn out in force when there are reports of antisocial behaviour and 'large scale youth disorder'.As part of the new initiative police community support officers will also be visiting primary schools to try and tackle antisocial behaviour at an early age. There will also be a greater police presence outside school when pupils finish for the day so officers can keep an eye on gangs of youths walking home and causing trouble.Deputy sector inspector Dave Holtby, said: "The idea behind changing our shift patterns is that when we have issues of large scale youth disorder we can be better placed to deal with it. "Each team across the four geographical areas can act as a stand alone unit. We can then deploy ourselves as a large team when we need to."If one officer goes into a park after reports of a group of youths causing problems they can't do an awful lot on their own. As a team there is so much more we can do."If we all work the same shifts we can also take the opportunity to take children home to their parents if we need to."We are also in the process of negotiating with schools to go in as much as possible to talk to pupils. The police constables will look after the secondary and police community support officers will look after the primary schools."We have an element of 15 to 16 year-olds doing what they shouldn't so we want to try and educate them by talking to them. We also need to try and educate the younger children before they get to that stage."We hope to work with youth workers who can raise the awareness of the effects of drugs and alcohol."If we increase our presence then those that continue to disregard what we say will be prosecuted."FACT FILE:Crime figures released at a recent council meeting for the period April 1 to September 30 2005:* 10 per cent of all crime in North Somerset involved a 10-16 year-old victim, suspect or offender.* 18 per cent of all violent crime involved 10-16 year-olds.* Figures showed youngsters don't feel safe in North Somerset.* 25 per cent of all criminal damage was caused by 10-16 year-old males.* Most assaults and acts of criminal damage happened from 3.30-8pm on week days and during school terms.* ABH was the most common offence committed against 10-16 year-olds.

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