Anti-social seven-year-olds tackled in Joiners Square
CHILDREN as young as seven are being blamed for anti-social behaviour in their community.
Beat bobbies are putting on lessons in primary schools in the Joiners Square area following the complaints about young troublemakers.
Some of the specially-designed talks on the meaning of anti-social behaviour and how to stay out of trouble have already been delivered at Waterside Primary School.
Officers will be delivering similar lessons to pupils at St Luke's Primary School.
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PCSO Nia Nokes, who is going in to the schools, said: "We have been experiencing problems with anti-social behaviour around the Redrow estate in particular.
"We see groups congregating there and on spare land around Joiners Square.
"The age ranges of those involved can be anything from seven to 16.
"We have had them throwing stones at vehicles and at each other as well as causing large scratches to vehicles."
She added: "I approached the schools about coming in and they were happy for me to do it.
"I spend 20 minutes with each class and we do whole assemblies to teach the children about appropriate behaviour.
"We define what is anti-social behaviour and how to avoid becoming involved with it.
"The sessions are very effective and it gives the children a chance to meet the police in the community."
Staffordshire Police have already issued three Acceptable Behaviour Contracts – which aim to improve a person's behaviour – to teenagers in the Joiners Square area.
A further 12 warning letters have been sent out to other youngsters while some parents have been warned about their children's behaviour.
Waterside Primary School headteacher Rob Johnstone said: "We have a very good relationship with our local PCSO and I think it is a positive and proactive way to make the children aware of this type of behaviour.
"It deals with the dangers of being out on the streets and how to give respect to others which are very important lessons."
Police have stepped up patrols following residents' complaints about the anti-social behaviour.
Joiners Square Residents' Association secretary Nicola Craggs, aged 42, said: "It is good for the police to build up communication with the children and I think it will act as a deterrent if they think they are being watched.
"I hope it will make a difference and it will make them think twice about anti-social behaviour.
"Primary school age is really where the police want to be targeting because if the children get to high school age then I think it is too late."