Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Martial art courses to kick hate crimes into touch

A town is aiming to give hate crime the chop – by spending almost £1,000 on martial arts courses.

The plan is aimed – literally – at tackling the surge in violent offences in parts of Dungannon.

It is included in the town's Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) action plan for the next two years.

Members say they hope martial arts lessons could help channel young people's anger in a more positive way.

Ulster Unionist councillor Kenneth Reid, who sits on the partnership, said anti-social behaviour was a growing problem.

"We want young people to take their aggression and anger out in the martial arts courses, rather than someone's property," he said.

The PCSP's plan, obtained by the Tyrone Courier, cites the "increasing problem" of hate crime, particularly in the "multi-cultural west of Dungannon".

It has one of the largest concentrations of migrant workers in Northern Ireland.

The report states anti-social behaviour is a regular occurrence and is linked to many hate crimes reported in the area.

As part of proposals to reduce crime, the PCSP plan to offer martial arts courses.

The lessons are projected to cost £975 and, according to the report, will reduce anti-social behaviour, increase self-esteem and improve confidence in the police.

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