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Press Release: 02.03.09

2nd March 2009

Tougher action needed against anti-social behaviour in Swale.

Gordon Henderson this week called for tougher police powers to tackle anti-social behaviour and a crack down on yobs. His call comes as new answers to Parliamentary Questions show that last year in Kent 88,347 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported to the police. But because of the massive under-reporting of such low-level crime the real number of actual incidents could be almost ten times that figure.

Under new Conservative proposals, firm action would be taken against the yob behaviour that blights neighbourhoods, as well as taking steps to tackle the underlying causes.

1. The police would have stronger powers to remove troublemakers from Swale’s streets - taking them to the police station rather than moving them on, while new curfew orders could ‘ground’ persistent troublemakers at night after school-hours.

2. Licensing laws would be more robustly enforced, revoking the licences of any shops in Swale that peddle alcohol to under-age children.

3. Violent offenders would be prosecuted instead of being let off with a caution.

4. More police would patrol the streets, by cutting police paperwork and bureaucracy which pins them down to the police station in Sittingbourne.

Mr Henderson said:

‘Recent surveys show that crime and anti-social behaviour are the biggest concern of local residents. I am not surprised. We live in a country where too many parents refuse to take responsibility for the behaviour of their children and nothing happens when a young person steps out of line. This has to change.

‘The fact that so many cases of anti-social behaviour go unreported is symptomatic of the way that law-abiding citizens are increasingly of the opinion that reporting anti-social behaviour is a waste of time. I know from recent personal experience how frustrating it can be to witness a crime and then see no action taken against the culprit.

‘But we shouldn’t blame the police. Too often their hands are tied, but it doesn’t need to be that way. For instance we could give the police greater powers to ‘ground’ young persistent troublemakers. In addition, we need to get more police on the beat, prosecute serious offenders and tackle the underlying causes of crime such as drug addiction, educational failure and family breakdown.’

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