Pakour leads to drop is anti-social behaviour

GETTING teenagers involved with exciting activities has lead to a drop in anti-social behaviour in Towcester.

Between September 2010 and January this year community support officers based in the town teamed up with youth workers to approach young people in anti-social behaviour hot spots to divert them away from drug and alcohol misuse, as well as promoting a healthy and sober lifestyle.

Inspector Alex Terry, in charge of policing in South Northants, said reports of rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour fell by 10 per cent compare to same period in 2009/10.

As part of the programme young people were invited to join rope climbing team building activities in Grendon, parkour practise in Milton Keynes, and fencing.

Parkour, also known at free running, is becoming more and more popular with young people who use the urban environment to perform gymnastics. Parkour can be dangers and the diversion project took teenagers to a school in Milton Keynes where they could learn techniques to keep themselves safer.

The project made contact with 60 young people and around 15 teenagers who formed a core group of regular participants where taken away on the activities.

Ins Terry added: “My staff have commented on the improved behaviour of a number of young people they regularly come across locally and the feedback from the young people involved in the project has been very positive.”

The project was funded by the Northants Safer Community Partnership and employed the private firm Youth and Community Development Services.

Company owner Karen Bricknell, who has been a youth worker in the district for 20 years , said it was the young people who set the agenda for the activities. She said: “It was about education, introducing discussions about alcohol and drugs, as well as having discussions about the types of activities they would like to get involved with .”

She added: “Young people a re free running anyway and they are going to do it regardless of what others say.

“They see it on the inter net and they know it’s happening. It’s not something we encourage them to take up, it is something they are already doing. Since then parents have taken them back to the facility where they can get rid of some excess energy in a supervised environment.”