A Joint Agency Group (JAG) was created yesterday tasked with tackling community safety issues in the town centre, in support of its regeneration.
The taskforce was formally endorsed at a meeting of the St Helens People’s Board yesterday afternoon.
Specifically, the JAG will address youth disorder, homelessness and rough sleeping, safety in the night time economy, and discarded drug paraphernalia in the town centre.
The group is comprised of representatives of a range of professional agencies, including local police and fire services, probation, social and youth services, the town centre management team, along with local councillors and representatives of local community groups.
St Helens Local Policing Area Commander, Louise Harrison publicly announced the launch at a meeting of the St Helens People’s Board, which oversees all matters relating to public health and community safety.
She said: “We are delighted to be supporting the JAG alongside our key local partners. An initiative like this will allow a smooth, coordinated response to the issues in St Helens which matter most to our communities and to all of us.
“We focus significant resources into tackling youth disorder, homelessness, safety in the town centre and drug issues and this approach can only help. We all hope that, working together, the people of St Helens will see their town centre go from strength to strength, and become an even safer, cleaner and more desirable place to live, work and visit.”
Welcoming the move, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, and Town Centre Ward Councillor, Lisa Preston said: “This is a very positive step towards a safer town centre, and I’m grateful for the support of our Local Policing Team and our partner agencies.
“We will begin to address in a more coordinated way some key concerns about the town centre that residents have and that we as a council share. In doing so, we can support our wider plans for a more ambitious and aspirational town centre.”
The JAG’s progress will be monitored and reported on regularly, and it is suggested that there is scope to set up additional JAGs for other areas of need across the borough.