Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Blame Asbo for Death; Authorities Defend Use of Orders to Tackle Yobs

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Don't Blame Asbo for Death; Authorities Defend Use of Orders to Tackle Yobs

Article excerpt

Byline: By LISA HUTCHINSON

A CRACKDOWN on yob behaviour was today defended after a boy with an Asbo was found hanged.

Martin Hickson, 23, was found dead in the kitchen of his Blyth home on Saturday.

His mother claims his apparent suicide was brought about after his photo was put up in bars and shops in his home town at the request of Northumberland County Council.

Hickson was given a two-year Anti Social Behaviour Order in January 2005 after magistrates heard he had clocked up 18 convictions in 10 years. They were told he was violent, a thief and a drunken menace. He was later jailed for breaching the Asbo.

Chief Insp Simon Packham, of Northumberland Police's Northumberland Area Command, said: "Asbos are a well-established and successful way of tackling anti-social behaviour. However, they are not a first response to the problem.

"Before we even apply to the courts, we will have attempted, with partners, to engage the individual in a whole range of intervention and diversionary measures to stop the behaviour which often blights people's lives.

"By the time we apply to the court, it is normally very clear that an intervention in the form of an Asbo is needed to deal with the behaviour of the individual, and to protect communities.

"Asbos are only effective if they are publicised to the affected communities - and publishing a photo of the person who is subject to an Asbo is a necessary part of this."

Hickson, a former pupil of the old Ridley High School in Blyth, was found hanged in his house, where he lived with his mother, on the 19th birthday of his brother, Carl.

He was discovered by his father, Paul Hickson, 43, who had gone to visit on Saturday morning. The use of Asbos is on the increase as authorities seek to curb problems with people whose actions have a negative impact on the communities where they live. …

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