To work with the community to introduce a safe place for children and young people to meet and play, with the aim of helping to reduce complaints about anti social behaviour and steering children away from a life of crime.
Charlie Banks, Community Police Constable for West Yorkshire’s Knottingley and Ferrybridge areas explains: “With 25 years experience as a community officer, I knew that simple but effective community projects can significantly reduce crime and anti social behaviour.”
Charlie formed the Knottingley Community Partnership Project, a partnership of private companies including play equipment company Sutcliffe Play to work together with the police and Wakefield Council to introduce play facilities across his wards.
The first phase of the project was to raise funds for, and install play equipment on the Ferrybridge Estate.
A temporary youth shelter was installed on the Ferrybridge Estate to monitor its impact on the community. Charlie comments: “In the six months that followed, calls reporting anti social behaviour on the estate fell by 45% – I know because I went through the hundreds of call logs and compared them like for like myself!
“Since then, the vast majority of even the strongest of opponents to the scheme have contacted me to say they have noticed an improvement in the community.”
When anti social behaviour in the area reduced, the Council gave its support to the installation of a new modern shelter, ensuring that it was positioned so that the police can easily see it from the road, and that it is at a distance from a nearby children’s play area so that younger children can enjoy themselves too.
Charlie says: “I believe the installation of the Pod Shelter will have a phenomenal impact on the area for many years to come and this is just the start! So far the play equipment has had a phenomenal impact on the area and has contributed to a 60% reduction in anti social behaviour calls”.
Charlie concludes: “Research has highlighted that 50 per cent of parents say there are not enough places where they live for children to play safely without an adult. And 73 per cent of adults surveyed said they’d like more places where children can play independently. So the schemes we are introducing deserve some attention and, I hope, can pave the way to similar initiatives all over the UK.”
Design & Build
Charlie explains the consultation process: “When I first started talking to residents about creating a place for youngsters to congregate there was wide-spread opposition. After months of consultation with adults and children, the community agreed to a trial a temporary play equipment unit.”