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 Estate project crowned POP winner


A street games project which has seen antisocial behaviour on a housing estate cut by 95% has won a police problem-solving award.

Judges had a particularly difficult task of choosing the top three projects from the 12 finalists who presented their innovative ideas during the two-day Problem Orientated Partnerships (POP) conference held in Durham this week.
The Woodhouse Utd: Auckland Street Games project was crowned overall winner after judges heard how it tackled the problem of antisocial behaviour in Woodhouse Close Estate, in Bishop Auckland.
Inspired by the Street Games project in Peterlee, Beth Maddox, of the Bishop Auckland Neighbourhood Police Team, teamed up with the Auckland Youth and Community Centre (AYCC), Believe Housing, Durham County Council and other businesses to launch the Auckland Games – a weekly activity session for children in Woodhouse Close.
By providing fun activities and engaging with the children and their families, the team have managed to reduce antisocial behaviour on the estate by 95% within just a year.
Presenting the awards, Chief Constable, Jo Farrell said: “The impact of these projects on both individuals and communities has been phenomenal which demonstrates that Durham Difference at the heart of our force.
“Each of the projects has been a fantastic effort; getting a grip with the issues and leading partners to get underneath some really challenging problems.
“Deciding the overall winner has been a challenge in itself, but we typically liked the Auckland Games project as it built on an initiative which has worked elsewhere; the planning was particularly meticulous; and it also demonstrates a real sense of leadership.
“Beth saw a problem in the community which needed our help and with her tenacity and leadership, she saw it through.”
Beth said: “I am delighted to have won the POP awards but even happier that we have been able to make such a difference to the lives of everyone in Woodhouse Close.
“To me the most important part is about making a change for the better in young people’s lives and it has been brilliant to see the community come together.
“I certainly can’t take all the credit as it was a big team effort with everyone in Bishop Auckland NPT and they deserve to be recognised for all their hard work too.”
Also honoured were the winners of the business award: Driving Down Demand - a project to help reduce the demand on control room handlers by cutting duplication between the Road Policing Unit and insurance companies when it comes to recovering vehicles involved in minor collisions.
And the traditional POP award winning project title went to Operation Blue Mountain - a project which tackled the issue of courier fraud by targeting scammers who pretend to be police officers and tell victims their bank account has been compromised.
Mrs Farrell commended all of the finalists for their innovation and ability to solve issues facing communities.
She said: “It has been an honour to judge these awards and I am proud to see the great work around problem solving being embedded within our outstanding force.”