ASBO threat leads to good behaviour

THREATENING ten youths with the prospect of ASBOs has virtually stopped Felixstowe's nuisance crime and disorder problems.The youths – aged from 15 to early 20s – were believed to be responsible for much of the rowdy behaviour, vandalism and other incidents which cause havoc in the resort, especially on the seafront.

THREATENING ten youths with the prospect of ASBOs has virtually stopped Felixstowe's nuisance crime and disorder problems.

The youths – aged from 15 to early 20s – were believed to be responsible for much of the rowdy behaviour, vandalism and other incidents which cause havoc in the resort, especially on the seafront.

Police officers warned that they would be seeking Anti-Social Behaviour Orders – and asking the courts to give full publicity to those they were targeting.

They said the youths' destiny was in their own hands, and the only way to avoid an ASBO was to behave – or face the penalty.


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Felixstowe sector police commander Insp Andy Bushell said the message had got through and so far no action had been taken on ASBOs.

Several youths had been asked to sign acceptable behaviour contracts as part of partnership working with housing associations, and these could result in court action if they are broken.

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Some 110 youngsters in their late teens were also on the youth nuisance register for anti-social behaviour and this was also proving effective.

"We have ten youths who were becoming a particular problem. We wrote to them, saw them individually and their parents, and let them know what would happen if their behaviour carried on in the same manner," said Insp Bushell.

"It seemed to have a great effect on getting the nuisance problems greatly reduced – they understood the message and took notice.

"We have not needed to take any further action at this stage or use the court system or seek ASBOs."

Insp Bushell did not rule out the use of ASBOs in the future and said officers would continue to keep an eye on nuisance activities and those involved as there would be fresh faces coming through and getting into trouble.

Officers said many of the problems caused by the youths may seem small but for the residents who have to put up with them constantly they are very important.

Many of the offences take place on Friday and Saturday nights, people coming out of nightclubs, gathering around takeaways at 2am, breaking off car aerials and wing mirrors, smashing fences, knocking over bins, causing noise and fighting as they make their way home.

Officers decided to investigate the use of ASBOs after seeing them used to good effect in Ipswich.

The courts have the powers to sentence those in breach of ASBOs, which impose stringent restrictions on a person's movements, not only for the breach but also any outstanding offences – and can impose up to five year's detention.

n What do you think – should more be done to get grips with youth crime? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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