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Praise for Northumbria officers' role in youth project to combat ASB

A youth project has received national recognition after Northumbria Police teamed up with teenagers to curb anti-social behaviour in Sunderland.

Following a sharp increase in crime and youth disorder at the end of last year, officers joined up with youth and community charity Young Asian Voices (YAV) and set up a new youth club – ‘1,2 youth crew’.

Young people can play sport, be creative as well as learning “key disciplines such as respect, teamwork and self-confidence”.

City centre officers PC Dominic Raine and CSO Anthony Kitson attend the weekly group, often in their spare time, and offer advice and help to steer them away from criminal activity.

The crew started with 13 members but now has 27. The weekly meetings have been paused to COVID-19 but PC Raine and CSO Kitson still hold virtual meetings online.

Neighbourhood Inspector Jamie Southwell said: “This group was brought together from a simple idea six months ago and it’s amazing seeing how it’s evolved into what it is today.”

"The number of youngsters attending each week - who are positively engaging with their peers, police and the wider community - has already doubled, and in that time we’ve seen a significant decrease in youth-related anti-social behaviour in Hendon.

“PC Raine and CSO Kitson have been blown away by the response – the young people have given up their time to attend and helped to create a very special environment.

“It has allowed a diverse group of teenagers to make friends, learn new skills and break down any barriers between themselves and police – allowing young people the chance to talk openly to officers about issues that are important to them.

The teenagers have just won a national award in this year’s Show Racism the Red Card Competition with their video on the importance of tackling racism and prejudice.

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Kim McGuinness, said: "What a great example of how youth interventions can make a difference.

“I'm delighted for everyone involved that it's getting the recognition it deserves. This project centres on building young people's confidence, skills and self-worth, helping them fulfil their potential and in turn, this benefits the whole community.

“I'm a firm believer in improving lives to prevent crime and this scheme shows this approach works."

Young Asian Voices manager Kumareswaradas Ramanathas , who was originally a participant at YAV when it launched in 1996, said: “I’d like to thank all my staff, supporters, the young people who attend as well as Northumbria Police. By working together, we’ve created something very special in Hendon and in Sunderland– and long may it continue.”

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