A CAMPAIGN has been launched in the borough to tackle under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour this summer.
Alternative activities and clamping down on those who enable children to drink are two of the key aims of the initiative by North Tyneside Council, Northumbria Police and voluntary sector youth organisations to help reduce young drinking.
A summer long programme of fun and interesting things for young people to do has been drawn up including go-karting, bowling, ice skating, organised trips, music projects, sports events, beach parties and more.
Northumbria Police will be cracking down on retailers who sell alcohol to children and will continue their work in picking up children and young people who appear to be involved in kerbside drinking or anti-social behaviour.
Parents and carers are being asked to ensure their children are in safe and alcohol free places on evenings and weekends.
Coun George Westwater, cabinet member with responsibility for youth provision, said: “Drinking puts our young people in grave danger; they are more likely to be a victim of crime and are at greater risk of engaging in dangerous or damaging behaviour.
“The impact of early drinking on a young person’s brain development and memory can make it more difficult to do well at school, and can also have long-term, far reaching consequences on their mental health.
“It is therefore extremely important that we work together to tackle this issue.
“In North Tyneside, we’re taking a two-pronged approach; by providing positive activities as an incentive and reason not to drink, and by taking enforcement action against those who illegally enable young drinking by selling alcohol to children or buying it on their behalf.
“We’re also appealing to parents to take responsibility for how they drink around their children, as well as ensure that children can’t access alcohol if they’re under 18.
“Together, we hope to make a real difference this summer.”
Voluntary sector partners include North Tyneside YMCA, Wallsend Boys’ Club, Barnardo’s and the National Association of Young People’s Clubs.
Dean Titterton, chief executive for YMCA North Tyneside, said: “Through listening to young people and building on the good work and information that partners have been sharing, these activities will provide an alternative for young people being bored and getting involved in anti-social behaviour.
“Hopefully, this is just the start of good things to come that will make North Tyneside a safer place for young people to be and to thrive.”
Chief Inspector Steve Readdie, from North Tyneside Area Command, said: “Experience shows that under-age drinking can often lead to anti-social behaviour and disorder which we also want to reduce.
“Through Operation Childsafe we will continue to seize alcohol from those under-age who will be taken home by officers and spoken to in front of their parents.
“Officers regularly carry out patrols in areas and speak to the minority of youngsters who get involved in this type of activity to let them know its unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken to prevent repeat behaviour.
“We know that residents do have concerns about anti-social behaviour so we will continue to work with our partners to tackle these issues over the coming months and beyond.”
For more information about activities visit www.northtyneside.gov.uk/thingstodo