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Policing of park is getting results

PUBLISHED: 17:19 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 July 2010

POLICE are winning the battle against troublesome youths in a Great Yarmouth park.

Since its grand reopening in April following a £2.5m revamp, St George's Park has become a favourite haunt for a gang of around 20 youths - and it has also attracted drunks.

POLICE are winning the battle against troublesome youths in a Great Yarmouth park.

Since its grand reopening in April following a £2.5m revamp, St George's Park has become a favourite haunt for a gang of around 20 youths - and it has also attracted drunks.

During peak problem times, police were getting about five calls a week to the park but that has now been reduced to an average of two calls per week following a crackdown. Several youths were arrested as part of a multi-agency crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the park - with many cautions being handed out.

Sgt Dan Smith admitted police had been caught “off guard” in respect of youths causing trouble in the park but added the force had been prepared for drinkers.

He said: “When the park reopened it attracted a lot of youths. The drinkers we had already planned for by working with drugs and alcohol abuse charity Norcas and the council. There is a bylaw which gives us powers to confiscate alcohol but the problem is, it is an addiction and they will carry on drinking.”

Outreach workers from Norcase had spoken to drinkers in the park with many being signposted towards help.

Sgt Smith said the fact 18-year-olds wanted to hang around a playground designed for children up to the age of 12 demonstrated the lack facilities for youths in that area.

A crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the park - headed by police - involved several other agencies including the council, children's services and local schools. After officers trawled through hours of CCTV footage 22 youths were identified.

Sgt Smith said police had made several acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) - tailormade agreements drawn up with the support of parents - which encouraged good behaviour. Youths that had responded well had also been channelled into schemes supported by police that attempt to deter vulnerable youngsters from a life of crime.

A mobile police CCTV van has been in the park at weekends - in a bid to deter youngsters - and it seems to be having the desired affect.

“Patrol officers have played a big part in reducing anti-social behaviour and the park now falls into everyday policing,” added Sgt Smith.

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