St.Helens safer spaces

A campaign to cut anti-social behaviour in St.Helens over the summer has been hailed a success after Merseyside Police recorded a 10 per cent reduction in the number of complaints

The Safespace campaign aimed to make parks and public spaces user-friendly places for local residents during July and August.

It saw police stepping up patrols in parks - while at the same time young people were given the opportunity to take part in a range of free activities across the borough.

Over 2,700 of them took advantage of free swimming sessions, provided through St Helens Council's Go Active initiative, while (6874) took part in other activities organised by the council's Youth Service.

A cornerstone of the campaign was the police clampdown on off-road motorcycles and quad bikes. During the summer officers issued 18 Section 59 warnings - the 'last chance' warning before a vehicle is seized.

Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Safer Communities and Youth Councillor Sue Murphy said: "St.Helens residents were able to enjoy our parks and open spaces to a far greater degree this summer - thanks to the Safespace campaign.

"As well as the efforts of the police, the campaign's success was largely due to the creative, positive alternatives that were presented to our young people to keep them fit, healthy and occupied."

Organisers kept the campaign in the public eye by handing out over 100 copies of the Anti-Social Behaviour Pledge at a crime and anti-social behaviour event in the town centre.

St.Helens Council and its Community Safety Partners - who include Merseyside Police and the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service - now plan to focus on the Good Guy campaign - which aims to reduce anti-social behaviour and nuisance fires in the run up to bonfire night.