Award for nightclub's under-18 events

PUBLISHED: 15:37 27 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

A PROJECT tackling crime and anti-social behaviour at a local under-18s club night has resulted in the event continuing successfully. There were calls for Batchwood Hall nightclub to stop the teenage club nights following trouble at one of the events in 2

A PROJECT tackling crime and anti-social behaviour at a local under-18s club night has resulted in the event continuing successfully.

There were calls for Batchwood Hall nightclub to stop the teenage club nights following trouble at one of the events in 2006 which resulted in eight assaults.

The 'Baby Batchwood and Too Much Teen Spirit' event was designed by the St Albans Community Safety Unit alongside Batchwood Hall and other agencies and there have now been 24 trouble-free under-18s events which are held every Tuesday and involve up to 1,380 young people.

Police Sergeant Debbie O'Malley from the St Albans Community Safety Partnership said: "Residents demanded that the event be closed down, parents were exasperated that their teenagers had nothing to do, while teenagers were drinking and getting out of control."

She explained that Batchwood Hall itself wanted to discontinue it.

"The challenge was how to run it safely with no crime and disorder," she added.

Several transformations were made including a code of conduct for young people attending the event, a civil banning process for non-compliance and conditions for entry.

A binge drinking DVD was also produced by students at Oaklands College and an education pack was delivered at local secondary schools.

Sgt O'Malley said: "There is also a choices-and-consequences element to the events around acceptable behaviour and young people have to take responsibility for their behaviour. For example, a young person who is refused entry for consuming alcohol before the event is taken to a 'cooling-off' room where the parents are called to collect them. The consequences of their behaviour are explained to them and to their parents. Interviews are held to establish where the young person obtained the alcohol and their parents are informed about their child's vulnerability."

She added: "Local residents are happy, parents and teens love it and the enforcement agencies promote and support it. Enforcement agencies attend each event to promote social sensible drinking and deal with teenagers misbehaving."

Sergeant O'Malley and Paul Holden, the senior licensing officer from St Albans District Council, PCSO Helen Upton, previous Batchwood manager Rob Swain and the new manager Peter Bell, along with Fran Launder from the Community Safety Unit, were voted the best example of intervention and prevention with young people and received the County Youth Action Award 2008 earlier in December.


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