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BLOG: ‘Both carrot and stick are needed to tackle rising antisocial behaviour amongst young people’

Feeling safe and happy in our homes and communities is essential to us leading happy lives. Antisocial behaviour, even less serious kinds such as noise nuisance or graffiti, can have a massive impact on people’s daily lives and make them feel unsafe. But when it spills over into vandalism and violence it is time for the authorities to step in.

There are of course people of all ages that are involved in antisocial behaviour (ASB), but I have recently been aware of a renewed antisocial behaviour problem

In response, I recently held a meeting with police, business owners and council officers to discuss bad behaviour, intimidation and vandalism from groups of young people in the Inkersall area of Chesterfield.

The police are increasing their patrols in the area, but there are limits on what actions they can take. The previous Labour Government introduced Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), which despite some silly press around them becoming a ‘badge of honour’ in some communities were actually a pretty effective tool to prevent individuals from acting in ways that whilst not unlawful in their own right ruined the quiet enjoyment of their neighbours.

The Tory Government abolished them, and there is a widespread view that the replacement powers brought in are less effective. Nonetheless, there is a role for more robust policing alongside measures like improved lighting and CCTV.

Alongside preventative and policing measures there is also a responsibility for the authorities to provide diversionary activities to engage young people in more constructive ways.

Our young people need somewhere to go, something positive to do and people to speak to. Local youth clubs, run by trained and experienced youth workers, used to provide the safe, supportive

spaces that young people needed. The cuts to local government over the last 9 years have effectively wiped out youth services, and I have no doubt that this has led to an increase in ASB in our communities. According to YMCA research, funding for youth services in England fell by £737m (62%) between 2010 and 2018, with over 600 youth centres closing and 3,500 youth workers losing their jobs. These cuts may have created short term savings, but they are having a long-term impact on our communities.

Toby Perkins following his meeting with local Police in Inkersall

Toby Perkins following his meeting with local Police in Inkersall

I want to see the bad behaviour stopped so that people can feel safe, but I recognise that criminalising young people is not always the answer. The Labour Party believes that new legislation is needed to place a duty on every local authority across England to provide a minimum level of support for young people and to establish a local youth service partnership with young people, parents, professionals and councillors, to ensure local needs are being met. This will require additional public funds from Government, but will improve our communities, increase the opportunities for young people and reduce the pressure placed on police.

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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Tel: 01246 386286
Email: toby.perkins.mp@parliament.uk
Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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