Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crackdown Powers Warmly Welcomed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Crackdown Powers Warmly Welcomed

Article excerpt

North police chiefs yesterday welcomed new powers to crack down on anti-social behaviour.

The Government's Anti-Social Behaviour Act, introduced by Home Secretary David Blunkett yesterday, has been designed to target young thugs, nuisance neighbours, vandals and drug dealers who make life a misery for law abiding citizens.

Police officers will now be able to close down known or suspected drug dens within 48 hours, stop cyclists riding on pavements and disperse groups gathered in so-called anti-social hotspots.

The Act will also make it an offence to carry replica guns in public and tightens up laws covering air weapons.

Mr Blunkett said: "People have new tools in their fight against neighbours from hell, intimidating groups on their streets and potentially lethal firearms.

"We are determined to help these communities but the Government cannot do everything on its own. We have delivered the powers people on the front-line wanted.

"They must now be used for the benefit of everyone."

Police had the power to make troublesome individuals who had anti-social behaviour orders imposed before yesterday's announcement subject to curfews or banning them from designated areas.

But the introduction of the latest Act will give police forces much greater scope in clamping down on unacceptable behaviour.

Northumbria Police have 34 current anti-social behaviour orders and says it has found them an effective tool in the fight against nuisance crime.

A spokesman for the force said: "It is one of the main force aims to deal with quality of life issues and these new powers will help us tackle those people involved in anti-social behaviour.

"The anti-social behaviour orders have proved to be successful for dealing with some persistent criminals and have been particularly effective keeping offenders out of certain areas. …

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