A SUMMER campaign is being launched in Ashington aiming to provide everyone with a safer experience in the town.
Ashington Safer Summer, launched on Friday, July 20, aims to tackle anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.
Northumbria Police will be working alongside various partners, including Northumberland County Council and housing providers, on the initiative which will run until September.
There will be increased police patrols and a zero tolerance approach on all forms of anti-social behaviour, with any offenders risking being arrested, summonsed to court or given an on the spot fine.
Warning letters have been issued to anyone recently involved in anti-social behaviour or underage drinking.
Anyone under 18 caught drinking alcohol in public will have the drink seized and the will be taken home. Those significantly impaired through alcohol could be taken into the care of the council.
Referrals will be made to housing providers for those caught committing anti-social behaviour which could result in eviction proceedings, while young offenders will be referred to social services.
Officers will be liaising with off licenses to remind them of their responsibilities on the sale of alcohol, but also to look for the signs of proxy buying where adults buy a large quantity of alcohol to pass on to youths waiting nearby.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery joined officers on patrol for the official launch of the scheme which also involved partners and Northumbria Police cadets.
Ashington Neighbourhood Inspector Barrie Joisce said: “Ashington Safer Summer is all about working together to tackle issues highlighted by residents as impacting on their quality of life.
“Anti-social behaviour and underage drinking have been identified as those issues and we know the public are rightly concerned about them.
“We will be increasing our patrols, making greater use of CCTV, visiting shops selling alcohol to remind them of their responsibilities and taking appropriate action against anyone involved in anti-social behaviour.
“However, we also acknowledge it is the minority of people involved in such behaviour.
“Quite often young people’s behaviour is perceived as anti-social when they’re hanging round in a large group when actually they aren’t committing any offences.
“We want these young people to understand how they may be perceived by putting themselves in other people’s shoes and to encourage them to become involved in more planned activities over the summer months.
“By working together, we can make Ashington a safe place to live, work and visit for all.”
Coun Anita Romer, Northumberland County Council’s member with responsibility for public protection, said: “During the summer, when young people have more free time due to school holidays and the lighter nights encourage people to stay out late, it is important that there is a coordinated approach to tackle anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.
“This programme developed by the Safer Northumberland Partnership involves the council, police, shopkeepers and other organisations working together to highlight the consequences of behaviour that can be intimidating to other residents and adversely affect the community as a whole.
“For those people who do behave in an anti-social way they have been warned that the police will take action.”
Anyone with issues of anti-social behaviour in their area is asked to contact their local Neighbourhood Policing Team on 101, ext 69191 or via www.northumbria.police.uk