CASTLEFORD police will be keeping children off the street as part of a national initiative to crack down on teen and underage drinking.
As reported in the Express last week, the two-year ‘Positive Choices’ project – led by Baroness Helen Newlove – will blitz anti-social behaviour in ten communities across England.
Insp Dave Bugg of Castleford neighbourhood policing team said special constables would work with Wakefield Council’s youth workers and community groups to deter youths from drinking by taking them to Airedale’s new multi-million pound youth facility, The Hut.
He added: “There was potential to bid for money not because Castleford is so terrible it needed it, but because we have got a good infrastructure to develop this programme – with The Hut in Airedale being built and community groups that get involved in projects.
“The message is that we bid for this £90,000 because we want to attract money which will be spent in Castleford which wouldn’t have been there before.”
Insp Bugg said officers would be conducting street patrols on Friday and Saturday evenings targeting areas where youths were known to gather and drink alcohol.
With consent of parents, youngsters would be taken to the new facility where £10,000 of the money would be spent providing activities for them.
Insp Bugg said: “We’ll have a minibus that will take them to The Hut. The age-old comment is that ‘there’s nothing to do round here’ and that’s why they’re drinking.
“But actually there’s a £5m facility up there with a bowling alley and cinema they can access. The whole idea of it is to lure children away from alcohol and point out the dangers, and hopefully reduce anti-social behaviour because they’ll have somewhere to go.”
Budgeting of £35,000 a year will be allocated to help community groups, youth workers and charities work with youths to identify and develop projects which require funding.
Officers will also conduct enhanced test purchase operations on licensees and those who fail will have to attend a training course.