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Dispersal orders 'last resort' in dealing with anti-social behaviour
TOP policemen said dispersal orders are a last resort and "could alienate young people" during a debate on anti-social behaviour last night.
Wycombe's area commander Supt Gilbert Houalla and his deputy, Ch Insp Colin Seaton, took questions from members of the public about anti-social behaviour in a live webchat.
They said 'community led resolutions' are the best way of combatting the problem instead of police orders telling potential troublemakers not to return to a certain area within a set timeframe.
The officers wrote: "Without a doubt, dispersal orders are a last resort. We will only use them if the problem is serious and that this solution is proportionate.
"At some point there needs to be an element of problem solving, because enforcement alone rarely works. Our next step would be negotiation between the two affected groups so that they can appreciate the impact that they have on each other.
"In short, dispersal orders alone is not enough and could alienate young people."
They added: "Thames Valley Police are looking to train a number of people from the community to deal with ASB without the being confrontational. What people used to do in the old days is politely talk to each other. This form of community led resolution should be the way forward.
"Commuity led resolution would have the biggest impact on dealing with ASB. Short term solutions exist, but if a longer term solution is found it is much more effective."
Polls run during the debate said 55 per cent of residents were concerned at anti-social behaviour, while the overwhelming majority said youngsters were often considered a scapegoat for the problem.
A staggering 89 per cent of people answered no the questions 'As a society, do you think we are as tolerant of young people as our counterparts in other developed countries?' and 'Should we blame young people for the majority of anti-social behaviour?'
Police said during the webchat the vast majority of reported anti-social behaviour is loud music from houses and cars.
They said: "People quite simply should not have to put up with it. The issue here is to establish whether the community has a role in recognising what is ASB and what is acceptable social behaviour and at what point do they feel that is is necessary to involve the police."
Supt Houalla added: "The police should be measured on how they deal with ASB. I am not too worried about the home office or the police commissioner, it our communities that we are really answerable to."
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