Op StaySafe is a community safety initiative which will be taking place on Friday 8 April, across the whole Borough, in the lead up to the Easter holidays.
The initiative is a joint project between Wiltshire Police and Swindon Borough Council and is aimed at promoting the safety and wellbeing of children and young people who may be out and about on the streets late at night and in a vulnerable position.
The proposal is that when a young person is found on the street late at night and who is identified as being at risk and unsafe will be taken to a local place of safety, which on this occasion will be The Platform in Swindon Town Centre, by a local police officer or community support officer.
On return to the designated place of safety the young person will be met by a range of professional staff from various partner agencies, who will be able to give support and guidance to that child / young person, in accordance with their needs. Specialist workers will be on hand to give sessions on drug and alcohol abuse as well as parenting support for those parents who require it. There will information provided from a range of services, including local education and leisure opportunities provided by staff from Connexions and Leisure Services.
Parents and guardians of the young people will also be contacted and invited to attend the place of safety. Should they be unable then there will be further engagement from both the police and Children’s Services to ensure all necessary support is offered and available to all those who require it.
This has been run previously but focusing on the North area of the Borough and was deemed a big success, in not only reducing ASB but also, and more importantly in my view, signposting those young vulnerable children and young adults to a better life away from the vulnerabilities of hanging around street corners late at night.
In order to measure its true success this is now taking place across the whole Borough and will involve around 100 staff from local neighbourhood policing teams and members of various SBC departments.
Pictured: Adrian Burt, West Sector Head, Wiltshire Police