CHESHIRE youngsters have set off for a five-day stint with the army.
The move comes as part of an innovative drive by Cheshire Police to reduce anti-social behaviour associated with young people.
This is the third time the Western Rural Neighbourhood Policing Unit (NPU) has taken youths on the residential course and officers believe they are starting to see the benefits.
Police community support officer (PCSO) Kay Swindlehurst, who co-ordinated the latest excursion, said: “The kids we take on the course are not necessarily the ones who are causing trouble, but we are definitely seeing the knock-on effects of their experiences.
“I have noticed a change in the attitudes of the youngsters who have been away with the army and this seems to be feeding through to their peers as well.
“As a result, there has been a reduction in anti-social behaviour in the areas troubled by nuisance youths.”
The course, run by the British Army at Swynnerton, is based on military skills and requires a high level of fitness and commitment from the youngsters.
PCSO Swindlehurst added: “The kids selected will have a go on the assault course as well as trying their hand at archery, paintballing and orienteering.
“But the main thrust will be discipline and an opportunity to see how this can have a positive effect on their lives.”
The initiative, which has been made available to children from outside the Frodsham area, is one aspect of efforts to address anti-social and nuisance behaviour by working with young people.
And the approach, adopted by Inspector Phil Hodgson’s team, saw them nominated for a National Justice award.
Inspector Hodgson said: “We are determined to tackle issues surrounding nuisance behaviour and, as the army initiative has shown, are prepared to explore many different ways of engaging with young people.
“We are seeing positive outcomes with a reduction in incidents of anti-social behaviour and improved relationships with the young people in Western Rural.
“However, we are also aware there is still work to be done and are committed to a continuing programme of events and initiatives aimed at diversion and inclusion.”