Police hail impact of Wigan Youth Zone

Teenage trouble by venue drops by 77 per cent
Teenage trouble by venue drops by 77 per cent

Wigan Youth Zone and the police are hailing a massive drop in anti-social behaviour in the five years since the lavish facility opened its doors.

The Parson’s Walk venue says it has been able to decrease instances of youths getting into trouble in the surrounding area by as much as 77 per cent.

While Greater Manchester Police (GMP) could not be quite so specific the force agreed the youth zone had played a significant role in bringing anti-social behaviour down.

Officers suggested calls in the immediate area about youths causing problems had come down within 18 months from around one every other day to just one a fortnight, with 21 being logged within a 12-month period.

With areas such as Mesnes Park and the infamous Pagefield building within a mile of the zone the facility’s staff take an active approach to putting the borough’s youngsters on the right track.

And the police are certainly grateful for having the high-tech facilities and enormous array of sports, arts and socialising opportunities to encourage young people through the doors.

Sgt Ian Stringman from GMP said: “The youth zone is a good place for young people to go, providing them with plenty of good distractions.

“I speak to the team running it quite often and it has had a positive impact on the borough.

“It has clearly had a significant impact in reducing levels of anti-social behaviour, particularly around the park and town centre. That’s gone down dramatically which is obviously a positive thing for Wigan.

“I would encourage parents to go down and make enquiries at the youth zone. There’s lots of facilities there and it’s a good controlled environment. Parents know where their children are and there’s a structure to it.”

Youth zone safeguarding officer Hayley Russell added: “Our youth workers are people young Wiganers can confidently open up to and report incidents which we can then pass on.

“We know there were particular issues around Pagefield last summer but we are continuing to push the message that it is unsafe and not somewhere they should be going into.”