A Public Meeting was held on Tuesday 21 September at Seaton Sluice Community Centre to discuss the increase in incidents of Anti-Social Behaviour in the village over the summer months. The meeting was attended by approximately seventy residents as well as representatives from the Police, NCC Youth Services, Schools and Seaton Valley Council.
Main Issues Raised
Groups of young people have been observed visiting areas of Seaton Sluice – the Dene, the beach and open spaces e.g. parks.
In a number of instances the young people have been seen to be drinking alcohol.
Parents have been seen dropping the young people off (sometimes with a supply of alcohol) and then collecting them later in the evening.
The consensus is that most of the young people are arriving from outside of the village.
Significant incidences of ASB – acts of vandalism have taken place including fences being smashed, fires being started, bush shelters being damaged, littering, and intimidation.
There are concerns around the use of TikTok by young people and that it is being used to set silly challenges involving ASB.
There is a suggestion that drugs are being dealt near to the fish shop.
There is a general feeling that the Police aren’t doing enough to address the issue. One resident specifically drew attention to cuts in both Police and Youth Services resources.
What action is being taken
The Police are making additional visits to Seaton Sluice within the resources they have available.
Officers have visited local shops that sell alcohol asking owners to be vigilant. The general feeling is that the supply of alcohol isn’t coming from local shops in the village.
Officers are having regular meetings with farmer who farms the land adjoining the Dene to try to build a picture up of gatherings.
Three young people from outside the area have been spoken to by police and officers are currently building up intelligence on the individuals.
Police will respond to 101 calls where resources allow and where other priorities don’t take precedent.
Youth services are making regular visits to the village to engage with young people and to try to gather intelligence on who is responsible for the ASB – these meetings suggest that main offenders are coming in from outside the village.
A number of residents in the audience spoke up for the conduct of most young people in the village as did school representatives and youth service representatives.
The majority are well behaved, responsible and polite.
A number of residents felt that the young people in Seaton Sluice have nowhere to call their own – a safe space. Feeling that some form of engagement is required with them to find out what they want. Cllr. Ferguson said that he would be happy to get involved in this kind of exercise.
Both schools said that they try to teach their young people to respect property, each other and other people in their community. Both are always available to help the Police with their enquiries and both extended invitations to residents to visit the schools to see them in action.
The police thanked everyone for their attendance and good conduct at the meeting and identified the following actions for them to take away:
Short Term – Engage with young people; Identify culprits and deal with any further issues.
Medium Term– stop access to alcohol, consider the use of dispersal orders, education through attending school assemblies, getting the message out that groups of young people aren’t the problem as long as they are well behaved and not disrespectful.
Long Term – Youth engagement, use of outside agencies to get the anti-ASB message across (NCC Sports Development, Newcastle United, etc), try to identify causes of ASB.
Reporting of incidents
The police urge residents to report ALL incidents of ASB in a timely manner i.e. as the incidents are taking place.
Use 101 if there is no immediate threat to people or property but residents should ring 999 if there is such a threat or property is currently getting damaged.
Please be patient when ringing 101 – police are aware of issues with getting through – more resources are being directed to this service.
Cllr. Dungworth thanked everyone for their attendance, their views and in particular the cordial way in which the meeting was conducted.
Cllr. Dungworth said: ‘The meeting has been a success as, if nothing else, it has shown all of the professionals here tonight the strength of feeling of residents.’
‘As we come to the autumn and winter months incidences of ASB are likely to reduce but we must be on our guard to prevent it from building up again next year and as the police have said, if we do see any incidences of ASB we must report them immediately.’
The Seaton Valley Neighbourhood Police Team are based at the Police Station in Manor Walks Shopping Centre in Cramlington.
Contacting the Local Neighbourhood Police Team
101 Extension 75536 (Monday—Friday 10:00 AM—2:00 PM)
If you need to report a crime, incident or Anti-Social Behaviour that is not urgent or has already occurred, you should do this on 101.
In an Emergency, if there is a risk to someone’s life or safety, or if the crime or incident is still happening, you should always use 999.