In the Media

Police invite headteachers on patrol to help tackle anti-social teenagers

PUBLISHED October 17, 2012

After a spate of reports of crime in Stockport, police aim to provide a "more familiar authority figure" to anti-social teenagers.

Six calls were made to police on Friday to complain about a group of around 30 youngsters drinking and setting off fireworks at East Avenue recreation ground in Heald Green. Two teenagers were cautioned and there were further reports of anti-social behaviour at Maple Avenue in Cheadle Hulme.

Insp Stephen Gilbertson, of Greater Manchester Police, said the plan was to run the scheme across the borough. If successful, it could be rolled out across Greater Manchester.

Insp Gilbertson said: "The idea is if the police turn up and a teacher also gets out of the vehicle it will provide a short, sharp shock.

"It might be the wake-up call they need and it is an authority figure that youngsters will recognise and know so could defuse a situation.

"It will be properly managed so headteachers would not be in any danger.

"We have a zero-tolerance approach to this sort of behaviour and most schools have signed up to it."

Mike Gledhill, headteacher at Kingsway School in Cheadle, worked with police in a pilot version of the scheme two years ago. He said he was fully behind the extended version, which will coincide with Halloween and bonfire night - periods where anti-social behaviour traditionally increases. Mr Gledhill said: "We are always happy to work with the police and very keen to support this.

"It can send out a powerful message when police, schools and families are seen to be working together.

"I feel that, hopefully, youngsters listen to me and my staff in school so would listen to us in the community.

"It is not about catching them doing something wrong but making sure they don't do anything wrong or put themselves at risk."

The move is part of a wider crackdown on anti-social behaviour. Other tactics that may be used include writing to parents, confiscating alcohol and - if the youngster is thought to be particularly at risk - a ride home in a police car. Shops are also being visited to check they are not selling illegal fireworks or alcohol to underage youngsters.