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STEP logo Light green oblong shape with the word STEP inside. To the right of the shape is a list of words: Support, Together, Empower, Prevention. The colours used are green, navy, turquoise and orange.

Prevention Team improving the life chances of young people

by Guy Murphy

As part of its commitment to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in Knowsley, Knowsley Council has invested £650,000 in a multi-agency Prevention Team.

The multi-agency team – STEP (Support, Together, Empower, Prevent) – includes representatives from Knowsley Council, Merseyside Police and also includes four Youth Engagement Officers and a Crime and Communities Officer.

The team is already working with young people to prevent them from committing an offence and help to improve the life chances of young people who are at risk of engaging in criminal activities. STEP supports children and families who may be at risk of criminal exploitation, becoming involved in anti-social behaviour or getting into trouble with the police. The aim is help children and families to build on their strengths, get the most out of life and to contribute to safer and stronger communities.

In addition, the team are working closely with other partners including those in the health, education and housing sectors to address the issues impacting on our communities.

The team is working closely with the Council’s Youth Offending Service, with a view to early intervention and prevention in order to prevent people choosing a life of crime and anti-social behaviour.

This is achieved through:-

  • Engaging with communities to understand the issues causing them concerns.
  • Identifying what the youth provision is in different areas across the borough and where there are gaps, how these can be filled.
  • Educating people on the consequences of engaging in criminal or anti-social behaviour through school briefings as well as targeted one-to-one or group sessions.
  • Providing early help where a person is identified as potentially engaging in anti-social behaviour activities including working with them and their family to provide appropriate support.
  • Supporting children and young people to return to education or training as well as accessing Special Education Needs and / or Disabilities where appropriate.
  • Ensure the voice of the community is central to actions being taken to address issues in their community, including a restorative approach which help to build and maintain positive, healthy relationships, resolve difficulties and repair harm where there has been conflict.
  • Accessing community activities and supporting young people to feel part of their local community.
  • Providing targeted support where required and actively engage young people in meaningful activities.
  • Supporting the young person and the wider family.

Cllr Shelley Powell, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said “A key priority for the Council is targeting crime and anti-social behaviour. That’s why we have invested over £1m to address this issue.

“As well as extending our CCTV network, the funding has also been used to create the Prevention Team who are engaging with communities and children, young people and their families, identifying issues that are impacting on their behaviour as well as providing the appropriate support to divert them away from criminality.

Cllr Margaret Harvey, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, added “The STEP team is providing dedicated support to our children and young people who are on the cusp of criminality. The team is helping them to choose an alternative path for them to be able to succeed and thrive.

“We will continue to work closely with our residents, businesses and partner agencies to reduce incidents of crime and anti-social behaviour and improve the life chances for young people.”