WIGAN’s youngsters have taken part in a crime prevention day to help reduce anti-social behaviour.
The event, at Central Park, was organised by Wigan Council’s Gateway Team, prison officers, youth workers, firefighters, police and life sentence prisoners who came together to explain what can happen if you get involved in crime.
Around 50 young people from high schools across the borough came to the Montrose Avenue centre for a full day of sessions with different agencies to be educated on staying safe and away from criminal behaviour.
Prison Officers delivered a session as part of the Prison Me No Way! programme.
, taking young people through the invasive searches they would encounter when embarking on a custodial sentence.
Organiser Sarah Halsall, from the Gateway Boroughwide Vulnerable Team, said: “This event has been about early intervention and prevention of young people getting involved in crime and disorder.
“It has been a fantastic opportunity to reach the next generation to show them how easy it is to get involved in crime and what the serious consequences are for themselves, their families and the local community.
“All the young people and professionals have really put their all into the event and gained a lot of thought provoking information from it.”
Young people also visited a life sized mobile prison cell to show them the cramped conditions and lack of privacy prisoners have to deal with.
Prison Officer Dennis Williams from HMP Wymot said: “Prison is all about losses. You lose your freedom and freedom of choice.
“These sessions are designed to show young people the realities of crime and prison and act as a deterrent.”
Three prisoners were also brought on licence to speak to the groups.
Dave, a prisoner serving time for drug importation, told one group: “With my skills set and background I could have achieved anything, but I got greedy.
“If I asked you what you were doing 52 Thursdays from now you wouldn’t have a clue. Ask me that and I can tell you exactly what’s in store for me. It’s been like that for the last five years and will be for be for the next five years, because my life is regimented and controlled.
“I am responsible for my actions and have to pay the price, just as you are all responsible for your actions. You are never too far removed from potentially committing a crime and have to be aware of the consequences of your choices in life.”
The event also supported the annual Operation Treacle campaign, where agencies from across the borough come together to promote a happy and safe Halloween and Bonfire Night.