In the spring and summer months, we receive a number of complaints about young people playing street games in public places.

St.Helens Community Safety Partnership (CSP) acknowledge that street games and associated noise and nuisance can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of residents. On occasion this needs to be balanced by a child's right to play in a safe environment. However street games (including ball games) deliberately and persistently played recklessly and leading to property damage may on occasions be classed as anti-social and criminal behaviour, which is something we take seriously.  In these circumstances, Merseyside Police should be made aware.

We have received enquiries from residents about the application of the Highways 1980 Act to deal with street games:

Section 161(3) of the Act states 'If a person plays at football or any other game on a highway to the annoyance of a user of the highway, he is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine'. This law is a national law and as such enforceable by the Police. The Council has no power to enforce it.

You will note the term 'user of the highway', does not cover acting in such a manner as to give reasonable grounds for annoyance to any person living nearby, e.g. annoyance to you whilst you are in your property.

We advise the following;  

  • Children are allowed to play on green open spaces, which are available for everyone to use;
  • Parent/Guardians should ensure that their children are playing in a safe environment;
  • Use a soft ball if you are playing in the street around houses;
  • Respect any "no ball games" signs; 
  • If playing in the street make sure it is safe and respect others property;
  • Ask permission before entering people's gardens to collect balls;
  • Do not play near parked cars;
  • Parents/Guardians should check where your children are playing and consider talking to neighbours about appropriate times if playing in the street; and
  • Residents within reason should expect some noise from children playing at weekends, after school and in the evenings

St.Helens Council are committed to working with Merseyside Police to keep your area safe.

If you need to report anti-social behaviour you can do this using the Police non-emergency number of 101.  The free Crimestoppers number can also be used - 0800 555 111.  Either number can be used without the need to supply your name and/or address