Police want to hook youngsters on fishing with pond transformation
8:53pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in News
An untidy balancing pond and overgrowth next to police headquarters in Quedgeley has been transformed into an angling and environmental area that officers believe will combat anti-social behaviour in Gloucester. The centre will be officially opened this Sunday (September 15), with members of a local youth club helping to unveil the new facility.
The Gloucester South local policing team has been promoting fishing as a way of diverting youngsters away from bad behaviour because it develops qualities such as patience and concentration, as well as an interest in the environment.
PC Lucy Winterburn recently worked with the charity Angling for Youth Development to train mentors to teach local children the pastime.
Converting the balancing pond next to Gloucestershire Constabulary's training base Wheatstone House in Waterwells was one way of ensuring she could expand the project.
The Environment Agency's Fisheries and Biodiversity office in Tewkesbury and Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust has also endorsed the idea and provided help and assistance.
PC Winterburn said of the project: “Given the proximity of the pond to our police building this idea has been staring us in the face for some time but we didn’t own and couldn’t use it. When the County Council agreed to lease us the pond and grounds via the Parish Council free of charge it gave us the green light to go in, tidy it up and make it fit for this purpose.
“We’ve cleaned it up and cut back the undergrowth and it looks great now. We’ve borrowed tools and pulled in favours from everyone we can. Platforms have been put in making the site suitable for local schools as a resource to use for pond dipping and nature lessons.
“The pond is already popular unofficially with local anglers because it’s home to a wide range of fish including roach, rudd, bream, chub and a range of natural food and invertebrates including freshwater shrimp - so it has excellent potential for this project.”
PC Winterburn believes the scheme will have significant benefits for the community.
“I know that when I am out on patrol and talking to young people in the area they are always looking for something to do so taking advantage of the fantastic natural environment that surrounds us seemed to make total sense.
“Residents have concerns with regards to anti-social behaviour and we are hoping that by giving young people another positive choice we will be able to reduce those concerns.
“If you are an angler and you feel you could help with the project and make a difference within your local community by becoming a coach please contact me email@example.com or ring 101 and request to speak to PC 208,” she said.