Police to warn pouts of their 'destiny'
TEENAGE louts causing mayhem in Felixstowe were today given a stark warning by police – "You are now in control of your own destiny".Behave or else is the message from officers at the resort who are cracking down on nuisance crime and disorder and targeting a specific group of youths who cause most of the town's problems.
TEENAGE louts causing mayhem in Felixstowe were today given a stark warning by police – "You are now in control of your own destiny".
Behave or else is the message from officers at the resort who are cracking down on nuisance crime and disorder and targeting a specific group of youths who cause most of the town's problems.
They have started work on Asbos – anti-social behaviour orders – to seek court action against the youths and have written to ten of them and their families to tell them what they are doing and give them one last warning.
In the letter to the youths, Felixstowe police commander Insp Andy Bushell outlines the incidents they have been observed taking part in and says steps are being taken towards obtaining an Asbo.
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He tells them: "People who have broken the terms of Asbos have been sent to prison by the magistrates, so please remember that your own actions and decisions may have a direct effect on your freedom.
"You are now in control of your own destiny.
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"If, having had this warning, you decide not to continue with the anti-social behaviour, we may decide not to seek an Asbo against you, but we cannot guarantee that this is necessarily the case.
"It is the firm intention of Felixstowe sector police officers and Suffolk Coastal council to allow members of the community to live their lives without the fear of crime and intimidation.
"The behaviour of yourself and others has had a direct and negative impact upon the community and it is for this reason that the decision has been taken to consider an Asbo."
Officers will now gather the evidence as part of a joint initiative with the council, putting together a dossier on each of the ten youths.
The group, aged from 15 to early 20s, are mostly involved in "public nuisance problems" – rowdy behaviour, vandalism, leaving nightclubs and gathering at a takeaway at 2am, breaking off car aerials and wing mirrors, smashing fences, knocking over bins, causing noise and fighting as they make their way home.
Police at the resort have decided to act after seeing the success of Asbos in dealing with similar behaviour in Ipswich.
Insp Bushell said the evidence needed for an order was significantly less than for a criminal case and a person does not need to have been arrested or charged. It need only be shown that the person has acted in an anti-social way.
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 – do you back the police in getting to grips with youth crime? Write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk