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A MAJOR survey was carried out in Rishton in a bid to tackle the problems caused by rowdy teenagers in February 1996. About 400 homes in the town were to get a questionnaire on the problems caused by juveniles. Householders were being urged to complete the forms and a free post envelope was included with each letter.

The survey was organised by the police and Hyndburn Borough Council and it was hoped the findings could be applied in other areas of the borough. The probation service, Lancashire Youth and Community Service and the Youth Justice department were also involved in the initiative. Superintendent Malcolm Rawcliffe, head of Accrington police, said: "The survey is intended to give us an insight into how people view juvenile nuisance and, hopefully, provide some indication of how organisations operating in the area can work with local people in tackling any problems that may exist. In many ways, Rishton is an ideal choice for a survey of this sort, because it is such a closely-knit community - we hope that the lessons learned from this project can be applied elsewhere."

Edgar Bignell, head of Hyndburn's community services department, added: "The approach adopted for this initiative is a very positive one, and one which will bring together the agencies with an interest at looking at youth issues. Those involved in the partnership are all committed in various ways to helping young people to contribute to their communities. Occasionally, however, we know that problems can occur and what we will be aiming to do through the survey is look at how these can be constructively dealt with."

On Friday 14th March 1997, Beer-swilling kids were frightening old folk. FRIGHTENED old folk in Rishton were scared to go out at night because of menacing and abusive gangs of youths, claimed a resident.

Frank Lamb, 70, told Hyndburn police and community forum how he was threatened by a gang of beer-drinking youths, some as young as nine, near the library. Further down the road on his way to Camera Club at Norden High School, he was accosted by three youths drinking in a shop doorway. And on his next visit to the club he was confronted by a mob of at least 40 juveniles on the corner of Henry Street.

Mr Lamb said: "People of my age, especially women, won't budge from their houses at night, and as soon as it gets dark won't answer the door to anyone. Surely Rishton can be made a place where people are not frightened to walk out at night."

Inspector John Pennington, of Great Harwood police, said the perception of violent crime was worse than the reality, and no more violent crimes had been recorded in Rishton in the first part of this year compared with last year. "It's the fear of it we need to address and make people aware the streets are fairly safe, they just don't feel that way to some people." He appealed to young people to be aware that when they stand in large groups they are frightening and intimidating to others. And he asked the general public to try and feel that most of them probably don't mean any harm. Acting Chief Inspector Bob Ford said police were working with other agencies on innovative ways of diverting youngsters away from street corners into sports and other pursuits. But parents also had a responsibility in combating juvenile nuisance. He said: "We are finding increasingly that parents either do not know what their youngsters are up to or if they do know, don't care."

Under a recent scheme on the second occasion the same child is spoken to about juvenile nuisance police are sending a letter to parents. Acting Ch Insp Ford said: "It is not for us solely to put right society's ills. We are trying hard."


Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Tuesday 20th February 1996, Friday 14th March 1997.