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Campaigning for safer summer spaces

Not in our parks: St Helens Council and its community safety partners have teamed up to clampdown on antisocial behaviour in parks and open spaces over the summer.

St Helens Council has once again teamed up with community safety partners Merseyside Police, Helena Partnerships, and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, to trigger a clampdown on anti-social behaviour in the borough’s parks and open spaces over the summer months.

Running from July until the end of August, the ‘SafeSpace’ campaign encourages residents to report different strands of anti-social behaviour such as off-road biking, arson, neighbourhood nuisance, dog fouling and littering; problems which often increase as the evenings stay lighter for longer.

New to this year’s campaign will be a clampdown on under age sales – known as ‘proxy sales’ which will see Merseyside Police work closely with the council’s trading standards and licensing teams to combat adults buying alcohol on behalf of underage children.

Any person buying alcohol for a person under 18 is committing an offence which can lead to a criminal conviction or an unlimited fine from the courts.

Commenting on the campaign, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Councillor Lisa Preston, said: “One of the main purposes of our SafeSpace campaign is to get as many eyes and ears out into our communities to report anti-social behaviour taking place in our parks and open spaces.

“With the public’s help, we can stop even more people committing antisocial behaviour in their tracks and send out a firm message that this will not be tolerated in our borough.”

St Helens Local Policing Inspector Matt Drennan added: "This partnership initiative is a continued response to community concerns about anti-social behaviour in the green spaces of St Helens, including the use of off-road motorbikes, which we know cause distress, damage and danger.

"I want to thank the public for all the information they have provided on areas of anti-social behaviour, and ask that you continue to do so, so we can take swift action in the right areas.

"As the summer months go on, there will naturally be an increase in visitors to our parks and all members of our community should feel they can visit our green spaces without fear or intimidation.

"We will have officers on push bikes and on foot making high visibility patrols in the areas, as well as specially trained officers on quad bikes when required, which enable them to cover ground not accessible by car quickly and safely. Previous operations have seen arrests and dispersal orders, all of which have reduced anti-social behaviour and nuisance, and this year will see the same response.”

Station Manager Paul Kay, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service lead on ASB/Arson Reduction said: “The Arson team is committed to the reduction of deliberate fire setting by proactively engaging with partners, carrying out target hardening within the local community whilst actively investigating incidents that are suspected to have been started by deliberate ignition.

"Using a risk based approach, we will be delivering community reassurance in the high demand wards across Merseyside. We will collaborate with Merseyside Police, local authorities and other community safety partners to set clear objectives to Prepare, Prevent, Protect and Pursue in relation to arson reduction.”

Torus group head of neighbourhoods, Nora Wade, said: "Helena Partnerships is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour in our neighbourhoods and we are proud to support this collaborative initiative in St Helens. We want to make sure our neighbourhoods are safe places to live and information from residents to us and our partners is vital to help us achieve this."

As ever, the key to the success of these initiatives is information, and there are many different ways that you report it.

To report anti-social behaviour, contact Merseyside Police on 101 or 999 if a crime is in progress.

Help us stop off-road vehicle nuisance in its tracks, we need descriptions of bikes and riders, information about where the bikes are being stored and names if possible.

Call Crimestoppers without providing your details on 0800 555 111.

To report anti-social fires dial 999.

For more information about the Safer Spaces campaign visit www.safersthelens.org.uk/safespace

Regular advice and updates are also available through the St Helens Neighbourhood Twitter feeds:

  • @MerPolStHelensC: Neighbourhood officers covering St Helens Town Centre and Windle
  • @MerPolStHelensS: Neighbourhood officers covering Thatto Heath,Sutton, Eccleston, Parr, Bold, Rainhill & West Park
  • @MerPolStHelensN: Neighbourhood officers covering Billinge & Seneley Green, Blackbrook, Earlestown, Haydock, Mossbank, Newton, Rainford

During the campaign, young people can access a range of activities during through St Helens Council's Youth Action Zone (YAZ) and other local agencies - diverting them away from potentially harmful anti-social behaviour.

To find out what’s going on over the summer, visit: http://yaz.sthelens.gov.uk/