Merseyside’s Deputy Police Commissioner will today join the festivities at the first of a series of family fun days aimed at diverting young people away from gun, gang and knife crime.
Cllr Ann O’Byrne will join the celebrations at South Park, Bootle organised by the ‘Disarm’ group as part of an initiative designed to engage with young people and encourage them to turn away from serious crime and get involved with positive activities..
‘Disarm’ was formed in 2009 with the aim of reducing the number of young people becoming involved with gangs and using weapons across north Liverpool and Sefton.
The initiative brings together a range of agencies, including Merseyside Police, Liverpool City Council and Sefton Council councillors and those departments working with young people and families, as well as education and criminal justice partners.
Today’s family fun day is the first of a number of events to be held over the next six months and it will also be attended by the High Sheriff of Merseyside Abila Pointing. Young people who head down to the park between 1pm and 4pm can enjoy an array of free entertainment and activities including live music, animal displays and sporting tournaments.
Cllr Ann O’Byrne said: “A huge amount of effort has been made in recent years to divert young people away from violent crime and Disarm has had real success in encouraging young people to turn their back on gangs.
“However, we are never complacent and we know we have to continue to make every effort to prevent our young people from getting involved in gun and gang crime.
“Disarm is focused on educating young people about the dangers of getting involved with serious crime and warning them of the devastating consequences it can have both for them and their loved ones. That is why days like today are so important – they give us the opportunity to talk directly to our young people, to encourage them to make better choices and turn away from crime.”
Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Environment, added: “It is great to see partnership working like this to tackle a very serious issue. This initiative, organised and hosted by Sefton Council, will have both immediate and long term benefits in the reduction of gun crime and educating young people on the perils of being involved with gangs.
“This will be a great day for young people and we are looking forward to seeing a great turnout at the park.”
Police officers from across Bootle will also be attending the event, including Neighbourhood Inspector Karen Griffiths. She said: “We are determined to tackle serious and organised crime in all its forms and one of the most important things we can do is to make sure our young people don’t get involved in the first place.
"We actively work with a range of partners to make sure young people stay away from guns and gangs and we are really supportive of the excellent work that Disarm are doing.
"I will be at the event along with a number of my officers and we hope to see as many people as possible for what promises to be an informative and really enjoyable afternoon.”