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Devizes drop in event to update on work to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town

Groups and individuals working together to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the Devizes area are hosting a chat and information drop-in event in March

Published 16 February 2023

Groups and individuals working together to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the Devizes area are hosting a chat and information drop-in event in March.

The Devizes Corn Exchange will be the venue on Thursday 2 March. From 9.30am-12 noon people can drop in for a coffee and chat to those who are making a difference and working to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town.

There will be representatives from a wide cross section of people working in Devizes including Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, Devizes Town Council, Mentoring Teams, Youth Justice Workers and Youth For Christ. There will also be an opportunity to sign up to attend workshops advising what to do if you see anti-social behaviour or find out how you can provide mentoring support for young people or parents.

The groups and organisations at the drop-in event will be on hand to provide an update on the work that has taken place so far.  Last year, Wiltshire Council received just under £130,000 from the Home Office as part of a partnership bid supported by the Wiltshire's Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the Devizes area and focus on ways to help prevent it.

There will be representatives from a wide cross section including Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, Devizes Town Council, Mentoring Teams, Youth Justice Workers and Youth For Christ. There will also be an opportunity to sign up to attend workshops advising what to do if you see anti-social behaviour or find out how you can provide mentoring support for young people or parents.

The Home Office funding is from the Safer Streets Initiative, which allows local areas to choose, within the criteria, how they want to spend money to improve safety in their area. The money is funding activities including:

  • A full-time young people's support worker
  • Mobile youth work provision to help young people access support and opportunities
  • Community mediation workshops
  • Parent mentors and support for those struggling with their children's behaviour in the community
  • Educational packages, including training for local residents and stakeholders, showing young people how to respond if they see issues within their community.
  • Additional CCTV in Station Road car park and key road junctions to provide reassurance to the public.

Cllr Peter Hutton, Portfolio Holder for Safeguarding at Wiltshire Council said: "Devizes is a beautiful town with a strong community and this drop-in event is a great way to highlight the good work that is being done and also to share opportunities to help.

"This will be an informal and interactive morning where you can talk to the people who are working with Devizes residents in all sorts of ways with a common goal of making the town a safer place to live.

"Since receiving the funding, we have built on those strong partnerships and have introduced initiatives to engage with young people and to look at ways of working together across the generations and backgrounds to address anti-social behaviour together.

"We are at a stage where we have strong community ties and real intervention work. We know we still have a long way to go and there are still issues that need addressing, but we are bringing in the whole community to address these issues."

Wiltshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said: "This is a great opportunity for members of the public to hear first-hand the importance of the work that is being done as a result of the Home Office funding to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the Devizes area and focus on ways to help prevent it.

"I'm really pleased to have supported the national funding bids to address the issues that matter most to our communities, such as anti-social behaviour and violence against women and girls, which can have a really detrimental impact on the day-to-day lives of residents in Wiltshire and Swindon. Addressing neighbourhood crime and violence against women and girls continues to be a priority within my police and crime plan, and they require a multi-agency approach to ensure sustainable and long-term resolutions are found."

Inspector Ben Huggins, Devizes sector Policing Inspector, said: "We recognise that there are some anti-social behaviour issues in Devizes at the moment. We are and have been tackling them.

"My officers will always respond swiftly and robustly to reports of this nature; however, we know more needs to be done and this is not a problem that can be solved by us the police alone.

"So, this initiative is very much welcomed - involving not only the agencies we already work with but the wider community.  Hopefully, we can all resolve this problem by working together."

The work has involved a 'contextual safeguarding' approach which aims to understand the wider context for issues affecting the young people in places outside of the home. This approach is being tested nationally as a different way to safeguard young people at risk, led by researchers from Durham University. Wiltshire Council is currently leading the piloting of this new approach to child protection through a tailored approach to harm outside the home that acknowledges how protecting children in these circumstances can be different to responding to harm that occurs within the family, while recognising and responding to children who experience both types of harm. This includes effective multi-agency child protection work between children's social care, the police, youth justice teams, health and other partners. Wiltshire Council is quoted in the recent Government paper on Children's Social Care Reform 2023.**

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