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Staying safe this autumn
Thursday 1st November, 2012

Alcohol. Cannabis. Sex. Anti-Social Behaviour.

Young people these days are exposed to a great many temptations and risks, most of which leave them exposed to personal danger as well as potentially to longer term consequences, such as alcohol dependency, unwanted pregnancy, substance misuse or a criminal record, to name just a few.

And these risks are at their greatest at certain times of the year, for instance when spirits are running high on the last day of the school term, on ‘mad Friday’ before Christmas and on Mischief Night.

That’s why local agencies support Operation Staysafe, a simple but effective ‘off the shelf’ tool which aims to educate young people about the risks associated with alcohol and drugs, whilst providing a visible and reassuring on-street presence to local residents.

As part of Operation Staysafe, restorative solutions workers from Wigan Council’s early intervention and prevention team join volunteers and officers from partnerships agencies including Greater Manchester Police, Wigan and Leigh Housing and Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust, have recently targeted areas popular with young people as well as ‘hot spots’ where there have been reported issues of anti-social behaviour

“Officers and volunteers challenge inappropriate behaviour and confiscate alcohol from under-age drinkers,” explains Sheila Martland, Service Manager in Wigan Council’s People Directorate.
“But their priority is to ensure that any young person found under the influence of alcohol, who is in a vulnerable state, is taken home or to a place of safety.”

Operation Staysafe combines education, enforcement and personal safety messages to ensure that children and young people are informed about all the potential consequences of getting caught up in anti-social behaviour, whilst encouraging them to take part in fun, meaningful activities.

Sheila adds: “After running Operation Staysafe last Friday night in various part of the borough, we’ve been hugely encouraged to learn that fewer and fewer young people are being found in possession of alcohol and there have been no incidents of ASB. Most young people are just out with their mates, hanging out in numbers for personal safety.”

Operation Staysafe runs in parallel to Operation Treacle returns which aims to address nuisance behaviour and criminal activity over the Hallow’en and Bonfire Night period. Operation Staysafe will again take place on Friday 2nd November and Saturday 3rd November.

The campaign targets anti-social behaviour in all its forms – from innocent mischief-making which gets out of hand to incidents of criminal damage.

Operation Treacle is supported by safe4autumn.com – a dedicated website which encourages young people to get involved in positive activities and attend organised firework displays.

Details of activities can be found at www.wigan.gov.uk/safe4autumn and on the Linc Website via www.wlct.org.uk.

For more information about Operation Treacle log onto www.safe4autumn.com


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