Project to protect children at ten years

A SCHEME to protect children from sexual offending in public places is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

Leisurewatch, which was first launched in the Northumbria Police force area, has seen more than 10,000 people across the UK trained in safeguarding techniques.

There are 131 member centres in the region and more than 560 staff have been trained in the past year to identify suspicious behaviour at venues such as sports facilities, leisure centres, shopping centres, libraries, community centres and tourist attractions.

About 50 referrals each year are made to police.

Run by charity The Derwent Initiative, the scheme ensures staff know immediately what to do if they are concerned about someone’s behaviour.