01/09/06 – Boy, aged under 10, facing
Published in Swindon Advertiser
SWINDON could be the first town in Britain to hand out a baby Asbo’, with council documents showing a child under 10 is being considered for one of the control orders.
The council report says it has a “possible candidate” for a Child Safety Order.
It means the young tearaway has been committing crimes serious enough to result in an arrest if they were older.
The revelation is made in a report going to the council’s community, housing and social care overview committee meeting on Tuesday.
The council documents say the compulsory order would place the child under the supervision of the council and its Youth Offending Team or social services.
“It is designed to prevent further offending,” the report says.
The council documents say the child is being given another chance before the order is applied.
“Nationally, no local authorities have applied for a CSO, however a young person has been identified as a possible candidate but other intervention is being tried,” the report says.
The powers come from changes introduced by the Government in March last year that allow the council to apply for a 12-month baby Asbo’ to children under 10.
The move was aimed at catching troublemakers early to give them and their families help to get back on the straight and narrow.
Unlike normal Asbos, baby Asbo children are not expected to be named and shamed by the council.
Overview committee vice-chairman Dale Heenan said he would use the meeting to grill council officers and the police about Swindon’s anti-social behaviour problem.
“Local councillors are very concerned about the rise in reports about anti-social behaviour in the ward, so we are very pleased to see this item on the agenda for next week’s meeting,” Coun Heenan (Con, Covingham and Nythe) said.
“Not only will it be informative and press home the importance of this issue with the police, but I hope there will be some key action points to come out of the meeting so that this issue is tackled robustly in the future.”
Coun Heenan said he wanted to know where the trouble spots are in Swindon and who is causing the problems.
He said he wanted to know if the council and police were working properly together and if there were enough resources going in to fight the problem.
Committee chair David Glaholm said anti-social behaviour was the top concern of residents.
He said the council needed to respond to anti-social behaviour complaints fast.
“For those who suffer at the hands of these people, it’s a nightmare,” Coun Glaholm (Lab, Penhill) said.
“We need to use everything we can to stop those people engaging in anti-social behaviour.”
According to the report, the council has handed out 26 Asbos and 18 dispersal orders.
Between April and July 15 people signed Acceptable Behaviour Contracts – voluntary agreements usually used for young people and the step before an Asbo application.
In three months this year, the council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Unit gave out 47 warning letters.
On top of that, the housing department gave more than 2,500 verbal warnings to council tenants last year.
And three buildings have been boarded up under crack house closure laws.
“All three closures have been in social housing areas of the town,” the report says.
“Anyone trying to enter or entering the closed premise is arrestable.”
South Swindon MP Anne Snelgrove said the council had to do more with the powers given to them by the Government to stamp out anti-social behaviour.
“I welcome the fact that the council is now beginning to use some of the new powers the Government has provided to fight anti-social behaviour, and getting more young people back onto the right path,” Mrs Snelgrove said.
“But I hope the committee will advise the cabinet and council to do more to work better with government.
“I still receive complaints from residents about graffiti, abandoned cars and crime.”
9:00am Friday 1st September 2006