Families reclaim Yarmouth park

A GREAT Yarmouth park once plagued by unruly youths and drunks is now a haven for families. Police have said members of the public played a crucial role in reclaiming St George's Park and ridding the park's image as a favourite haunt for drunks and troublesome youths.

A GREAT Yarmouth park once plagued by unruly youths and drunks is now a haven for families.

Police have said members of the public played a crucial role in reclaiming St George's Park and ridding the park's image as a favourite haunt for drunks and troublesome youths.

Speaking at last Tuesday's Comeunity meeting Sgt Tony Blackman, from the South Yarmouth safer neighbourhood team (SNT), said the community had been directly involved in the team's success of improving the area.

The park reopened in April 2008 following a �2.5m regeneration project and police made it a priority to rid the park's image as a favourite haunt for drunks and gangs of youths.


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Sgt Blackman explained that when the project first began, park benches were going to be removed in a bid to avoid drunks loitering in the park. However, this decision was reversed when police pledged to increase high visibility patrols in the park as well as enforcing the by-law which makes it an offence to drink on the street in Yarmouth.

The park had been subject to persistent vandalism and six main troublemakers were given anti-social behaviour contracts (ABCs) - tailor-made agreements drawn up with the support of parents to encourage good behaviour.

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Sgt Blackman said: “We also used restorative justice and out of those six youths only one has returned to crime.”

Last year the police dealt with problems in the park on a daily basis but the majority of problems have “completely evaporated” according to Insp Nick Cheshire, who leads south Yarmouth SNT.

He said: “I'm not saying things don't happen in the park because with a high footfall you will get issues but improvements have been made beyond expectation through working with partner agencies.

“It's not just down to the police, the public have reclaimed ownership of the park.”

The team has also seen success with solving graffiti problems in the Middlegate area and with its reporting centre on King Street.

It comes as the team changes the way in which it chooses its policing priorities as Insp Cheshire explained.

“Police and community support officers will be encouraged to keep in contact with members of the community and identify issues affecting their quality of life. Then working with Comeunity we will choose three priorities to cover over the next three months.”

Current priorities for the team include dealing with anti-social behaviour and criminal damage on York Road and Dorset Close as well as planning an action week on the Barrack estate in September.

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