Boost for the battle against yobs

IPSWICH'S fight against anti-social behaviour among young people could be set to get a £100,000 shot in the arm following the launch of a new government taskforce.

IPSWICH'S fight against anti-social behaviour among young people could be set to get a £100,000 shot in the arm following the launch of a new government taskforce.

The Youth Taskforce Action Plan will see a thousand of the most challenging young people in the UK targeted for “intensive and non-negotiable intervention”.

The £218.5million initiative will target unacceptable or illegal behaviour and fund better prevention to tackle problems before they become entrenched, the government said.

Ipswich is one of 20 pioneering schemes aimed specifically at young people that have been invited to bid for funding and is the only place in Suffolk to be chosen to take part.

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Young people selected for the scheme will have to agree to a contract and will be given a key worker who will make sure they have the help they need to tackle the causes of their bad behaviour.

Those who refuse the help could be slapped with anti social behaviour orders (Asbos) and threatened with further action.

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Andy Solomon, antisocial behaviour manager for Ipswich Borough Council, said the authority is confident of securing the money.

He said: “It will enable us to work with partner agencies to put in place packages of support for young people who at present don't get support for various reasons. “It will also enable us, in a very small minority of cases to effectively use enforcement measures should they be needed.”

One organisation the council is hoping to work closely with in the future is charity Making Tracks which has four centres across Ipswich providing after school care for eight to 13-year-olds.

The charity has recently received a funding boost that will see it continue running for a further year.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said the taskforce action plan aims to “bring respite to communities”.

He said: “Communities want lasting improvements and that means not only stopping bad behaviour when it occurs but also changing it and intervening early to stop bad behaviour spiralling into future offending.”

Nik Soar, from Ipswich's Nacro centre in Felixstowe Road, which works with young people in training, housing and education, welcomed the initiative today.

He said: “I think it could be really, really positive. You can make a lot of progress with one-to-one work.”

And he said even though Asbos could be used as a last-resort measure, children need not feel threatened by the work.

Mr Soar said: “It doesn't have to be addressed as a threat, it can be tackled with kindness.”

Do you think the measures will work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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