Preston Police take multi-agency approach to tackling youth anti-social behaviour

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Preston Police have teamed up with partner agencies to continue to challenge youth anti-social behaviour in the City.

Officers from the Neighbourhood Policing and Early Intervention teams joined forces with the  Exploitation team and partners from Preston City Council, Champions Youth Team, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, CSP Street Safety Officers and the JJ Effect for Operation Dragonfish – a targeted operation to tackle anti-social behaviour and child exploitation and to safeguard young people who could be at risk of becoming involved in crime.

Residents in Preston have told us that anti-social behaviour is a particular concern of theirs. The purpose of Op Dragonfish is to steer those vulnerable young people away from getting involved in crime and ASB through targeted operations and diversionary activities.

During Friday evening (3rd March), officers were paired up with representatives from partner agencies to patrol ASB hotspots, engaging with young people and providing education on a range of different topics such as drug and alcohol misuse.

Activity included:

  • Engaging with over 100 young people at various locations across Preston, including Moor Nook, Ribbleton, Preston Bus Station, Friargate, Broadgate and Deepdale Retail Park.
  • Conducting 8 home visits to young people who are believed to be involved in criminality or at risk of exploitation.
  • Visits by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service to empty/vulnerable buildings across the city.
  • Alcohol and tobacco test purchasing at 13 premises across Ribbleton and Deepdale which included one fail for e-cigarette sale.
  • 1 arrest made after criminal damage was caused at Preston Bus Station.
  • Providing crime prevention advice to 3 taxi firms in Preston.

Inspector Jonathan Cisco from Preston’s Early Intervention Team said: “Op Dragonfish was born last year following an increase in reports to us of youth anti-social behaviour in Preston.

“Since then, we have been continuing our work, engaging with, and educating young people to prevent them from becoming involved in criminality and, where appropriate, taking positive action against those who exploit vulnerable adults and children.”

CHAMPIONS Co-ordinator Ria Barker from Preston North End Community and Education Trust said:

“Preston North End Community and Education Trust [PNECET] delivers the CHAMPIONS programme in partnership with the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network, to support young people up to the age of 25 who are engaged in, or at risk of engaging in, offending or anti-social behaviour in Preston and surrounding areas.

“Operation Dragonfish has presented the perfect opportunity for the Trust to work collaboratively with Lancashire Police and take a multi-agency support approach to reducing anti-social behaviour within local neighbourhoods.

“We have provided information about the positive impact of the CHAMPIONS programme and our collaborative work with Lancashire Police to young people across the city, breaking down barriers in terms of how young people perceive our work and we are looking forward to being involved in future events as part of Operation Dragonfish.”

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