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Public find out more about work to reduce anti-social behaviour in Devizes at a drop in event

Devizes residents had a chance to speak to groups and individuals working together to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the town at a special drop in event

Published 3 March 2023
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Devizes residents had a chance to speak to groups and individuals working together to tackle youth anti-social behaviour in the town at a special drop in event  

The Devizes Corn Exchange was the venue where people could drop in for a coffee and chat to those working hard to reduce anti-social behaviour in the town.

Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Police, Devizes Town Council, Mentoring Teams, Youth Justice Workers, Motiv8 and Youth For Christ were amongst those speaking to members of the public about activities. There was also information on volunteering opportunities including mentoring support for young people as well the invitation to sign up to attend workshops advising what to do if you see anti-social behaviour.

The event on market day in the town was an opportunity 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.

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: This event shows the value of partnership working and it would be good to use the experience gathered from this work in Devizes to help other areas in Wiltshire if they experience similar issues with anti-social behaviour. The community needs to see evidence these projects are working as it's important to get community buy in and having a drop in event where people can come and ask questions is a valuable way to share key information about what is happening and how it is making a positive difference. I look forward to seeing the difference this will have on anti-social behaviour in Devizes and look forward to hearing from the variety of partners who have been committed to this community project.

Noel Woolrych, Devizes Town Council CCTV Manager was busy talking to the public. Speaking about CCTV he said: Over the last 15 years it's made a huge difference to the reduction in street crime and we're hoping this project will encourage more co-operation from other people and help reduce crime.

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

We're pleased to support events that help give our community a focal point to raise concerns, with both police and wider partner agencies. And this event gave us the opportunity to discuss concerns with the community.

We're holding a Facebook live Q&A on Wednesday 8 March at 6pm where we hope to continue the discussion. Please visit the Devizes Police Facebook page for more details.

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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