A programme that aims to discourage antisocial behaviour amongst young people is being trialled in Aberdeen.
The Aberdeen Community Safety Partnership, which includes Aberdeen City Council, Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, is currently piloting Aberdeen Motorcycle Project for Educational Development, or AMPED, which aims to divert young people away from antisocial behaviour by providing them with another activity or interest.
The trial scheme based near Hazlehead Park began in April and for six week period. The programme offers participants an opportunity to learn how to fix, maintain and ride motorcycles safely as well as education on the dangers of illegally driving motorcycles. Participants have also been taught about the effects antisocial behaviour can have on a community.
Aberdeen City Council said: “We are very pleased with how the pilot scheme has been received.
“This is an educational project and we are hopeful that it helps build social skills and makes participants think twice before taking part in any illegal or antisocial activities.
“All of our young people were extremely well behaved, listened to guidance from the coaches and showed a genuine interest in learning more. We hope that this good behaviour continues into the class room and beyond. Those who complete the project successfully will be invited back to a future session as a peer mentor.”
Jason Carrigan, partnership inspector, North East Division, Police Scotland said: “AMPED has set out with the clear objective of reducing antisocial behaviour and improving the quality of life for the residents of Aberdeen, by raising the aspirations and improving the destination of its participants.
“AMPED seeks to turn an activity that has previously negatively impacted on our communities and use it as a vehicle to engage, educate and divert young people into having a positive future, with a key focus on riding a motor cycle legally and responsibly.
“If the results from the first cohort are anything to go by, the future of both the project and its participants is bright.”
Group manager Gordon Riddel of Scottish Fire & Service said “AMPED is the first of its kind in Aberdeen and we fully support the concept. This diversionary initiative will hopefully foster positive outcomes for the young people through education in addition to building respect for emergency services and the wider public”.
Funding for AMPED has come from Aberdeen City Council; the Cycling, Walking Safer Streets Fund; Aberdeen City Health Improvement Fund and global upstream oil and gas company Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited. ARR Craib, has also supported the project by donating a secure container to store equipment.
Ray Riddoch, MD & SVP Europe Nexen Petroleum U.K. Limited said: “Nexen is committed to helping to enrich the lives of young people through education and raising aspirations. The motorcycle pilot scheme has already inspired young people to become hands on in motorcycling maintenance and safety who will now go on to mentor new participants as the scheme grows. We’re delighted that by supporting and partnering with key community agencies for this key initiative we are helping to reduce anti-social behaviour at a grass roots level with the aim of improving the quality of life for Aberdeen residents.”
There is a strict criterion for remaining on the course including good attendance at school and no involvement in criminal or antisocial behaviour. Anyone who breaks the rules will be asked to leave the project.
AMPED participant Layton Whelan said: “It’s good to learn how to ride a bike properly and not be reckless. It’s great fun and I’ve made new friends.”
Logan Foster, AMPED participant said: “It’s a great experience to learn how to ride a motorbike safely. I’ve learned how to go up steep hills. Bike maintenance is something I’m learning more about, like how to change spark plugs and do a bike check appropriately.”
The project has already created an interest amongst secondary schools and social work services who will be asked to refer any young people they believe would benefit from taking part in the programme. It is hoped that enough referrals will be made to officially launch AMPED once the pilot ends on May 25.
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