Anti-Social Diversion Project Praised

A project tackling antisocial behaviour in a popular Wigan park - which saw a 75% drop in calls to police - has been lauded by the Government.

Operation Windburn ran in Mesnes Park last summer and was so successful that local authorities plan to repeat the project, which included coaching sessions by Wigan Athletic Football Club, this summer.

Diversionary activities including football, archery, rounders and a climbing wall took place every Friday and Saturday night for 12 weeks. The project was set up following a series of problems with anti-social behaviour in the park.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell, who today met with Operation Windburn participants and local residents, said project like this do not just benefit young people but the entire community as well.

"We will continue to support our local partners to tackle anti-social behaviour with projects like this. However we have made it clear that when anti-social behaviour is happening we expect it to be tackled not tolerated with all the tools and powers at their disposal," he said.

Inspector Glenn Jones from Wigan’s Neighbourhood Policing Team, said young people often feel a sense of alienation within their own community.

"Projects like Operation Windburn address that, giving them their own space and providing them with activities in safe surroundings where they aren’t at any risk and can socialise with their peers.

"We were also able to build relationships with the young people, and where we identified issues around drugs or alcohol, we were able to make appropriate referrals."

Wigan is one of 62 areas across the country receiving additional support from the Home Office to tackle perceptions of antisocial behaviour.

It includes help from an antisocial behaviour (ASB) Delivery Expert to identify problems and, where needed, the ASB Action Squad to help drive up performance.

A Victims’ Champion will also be appointed to stand alongside victims and deliver practical help.


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