Mixed reaction to new Asbos

NEW powers which could see drunken yobs banned from areas of Ipswich town centre have been met with a mixed reaction from community figures.

NEW powers which could see drunken yobs banned from areas of Ipswich town centre have been met with a mixed reaction from community figures.

From the beginning of this week, police and councils in England and Wales can seek a Drinking Banning Order - dubbed “booze Asbos” - on anyone aged 16 and over.

Yobs who cause antisocial behaviour can be banned by magistrates from pubs, bars, off-licences and certain areas for up to two years. Anyone who breaches the order faces a �2,500 fine.

Adrian Smith, chair of Ipswich Bar Watch and landlord of The Dove Street Inn, said: “Obviously anything that is going to stop anti-social behaviour has got to be good, but it is how they enforce it which is going to be the interesting part.

“Some of the existing Asbos are seen as trophies by some of these young people and I do not think that is tackling the route problem of alcohol misuse. It might help in the short-term but in the long-term they need to look at educating people about alcohol and drugs.”

Randall Bevan, 75, who was a magistrate in Ipswich for 26 years, said he thought the new law was a gimmick.

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“I feel very sorry for the youngsters of today because in my day there was discipline and to have a criminal record was the most horrendous thing that youngsters could have,” he said.

“It is a gimmick but anything that tries to improve the lot of citizens of Ipswich so that they can walk the streets at night and any other time of day without fear of being in the middle of some fracas because some youngster cannot hold their booze is a good thing.”

Mr Bevan, who lives in Ipswich, said he felt harder punishment was the answer.

“There is one thing that will stop youngsters from doing what they do and that is a period in jail. Put them inside and give them two or three days in jail with some hardened criminals.”

Home Office minister Alan Campbell, who said crime and disorder linked to alcohol cost the UK billions of pounds every year, said: “These orders will stop those people who are well known to the authorities, licensees and often the communities where they live, from ruining lives - and will make them face up to their destructive behaviour.”

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