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Call for more youth facilities

PUBLISHED: 16:43 04 December 2008 | UPDATED: 12:28 03 July 2010

KEEN TO HELP: Councillor Patricia Page

KEEN TO HELP: Councillor Patricia Page

Laura Bagshaw

MORE youth facilities are needed on the Magdalen Estate to aid police in cutting crime levels in the area.

A lack of youth provision is forcing youngsters on to the street where they become involved in anti-social behaviour, according to police.

MORE youth facilities are needed on the Magdalen Estate to aid police in cutting crime levels in the area.

A lack of youth provision is forcing youngsters on to the street where they become involved in anti-social behaviour, according to police.

Insp Alun Gibbs, who heads up the areas safer neighbourhood team (SNT), said he believed there were not enough facilities for youths and that police were working with borough and county councils on the issues as well as local schools.

Insp Gibbs said: “We want to drive forward a youth provision plan. There are not enough youth facilities on the estate and we are working with both councils and local schools to get more facilities.”

“By effectively problem solving these issues we will solve a lot of crime,” added Insp Gibbs.

His claims were made during the Gorleston area liaison meeting on Monday night where Insp Gibbs had been invited to speak about the effectiveness of the KIN (Key Individual Network) meetings where police priorities are set by members of the public.

Insp Gibbs said KINs had been successful since they were launched in April, particularly in the Magdalen area which he said had seen a decrease in crime.

Current priorities include tackling anti-social behaviour on Magdalen Square; working towards improve local environment with youth facilities including a shelter; and targeting traffic problems around Cliff Park Junior School.

Insp Gibbs said police had made in-roads on the estate with a significant reduction in crime adding that it was an issue of balance for police who were on the one hand using hard hitting methods to catch and deter criminals but needed to look at long-term problem solving methods such as youth provision.

Magdalen ward councillor, Conservative Patricia Page, said a campaign for better youth facilities in the area had been running for years.

She said: “When I was first elected to the council in 2000 I made that a priority and helped get the skate park outside the sixth form college.”

Ms Page later lost her seat but was voted back on the borough council in the May elections. One of her first tasks was to set up a football team for youngsters on the Magdalen Estate and while partly successful the team failed.

“A lot of youngsters struggle with commitment. It's not an easy issue to solve. Adults think they know what kids want to do but they don't. One of the most challenging things is finding out what kids actually want.”

Ms Page praised the work of local police in cutting anti-social behaviour. “Police take a zero-tolerance approach towards under-age drinking and smoking and it seems to be working. You will always get anti-social behaviour but there is a lack of facilities for 13 to 17-year-olds.”

She added efforts were being made behind the scenes to create facilities for youths including initiatives based around football and a place where youths could sit and talk.


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