School’s out – but do you know what your children will be doing and where they are going this summer?
The summer holidays are a great time for youngsters to unwind and have fun, but if they’re older and you are at work all day, too much spare time can lead to behaviour that negatively affects your neighbours and the community; and sometimes places them in dangerous situations.
The Safer New Forest Partnership urges parents of older children who will be left alone to find out what their plans are, where they are going and who they are spending their time with.
New Forest Chief Inspector Tony Rowlinson said: “Keep your older children out of danger this summer by talking to them about their plans for the day and warning them about the potential dangers of such things as messing around near roads or water, particularly ‘tombstoning’ (jumping off bridges into water).
“Please ask your children to think about the consequences of misbehaving, causing a nuisance to others or damaging the environment, for instance starting fires deliberately.
“The New Forest experienced real devastation as a result of fire-setting in the past and we hope parents will support us in spelling out the dangers of such irresponsible behaviour.”
“We don’t want to spoil summer holiday fun, but young people can sometimes get into all sorts of trouble through boredom or if egged on by their friends.
“Alcohol can be a problem and young people may take it from home to share with friends without parents’ knowledge – so we suggest keeping any alcohol in a safe place and checking if any has gone missing.”
Children can also be the victims of others’ antisocial behaviour in the summer holidays and Hampshire police will respond to any reports made to the 101 phone line. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Cllr Jill Cleary, New Forest District Council portfolio holder for Housing and Communities, said: “The summer holidays should be a safe and happy time for your child to take a break from school. But we share police concerns that older youngsters should let their parents know what they are doing each day and also be informed about the consequences of antisocial behaviour.
Young people may be interested in taking part in a local summer activity scheme, such as those run by the Handy Trust on the Waterside, or enjoy a visit to some of the many local attractions in and around the New Forest.”
Find out what’s on for young people in the New Forest on the council’s youth website inq.org.uk