Doncaster Voices: Anti-social behaviour - what can be done?

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Welcome to Doncaster Voices, your weekly debate forum. If you want to get involved, submit 150 words with name, title and photo to chris.page@jpress.co.uk and your views could appear here next week, when subject is . . . “How best can Doncaster be put on the map?”

Molly McGlone, Doncaster Student

Anti-social behaviour is single-handedly the cause for future offences as youths transition from children to adults. What many people don’t comprehend is anti-social behaviour within teenagers typically stems from bad choices made in schools. I believe that the council should be in contact with both primaries and secondaries in order for them to be able to put correct provisions in place if need be. The cause of anti-social behaviour can stem from parents or involving themselves with the wrong crowd. I believe younger people in Doncaster aren’t provided with the correct support schemes if they feel they could benefit from them. A support group should be created for the next generation so they can get back on track, even if they have committed anti-social behaviour in the past. Everybody deserves a second chance.

Coun Chris McGuinness, DMBC Communities, Vol Sec and Environment Cabinet Member

We are working hard alongside our partners to address anti-social behaviour. There isn’t an easy answer to tackling anti-social behaviour, which can be in different forms. It can be anything from dropping litter to fly-tipping, not picking up after your dog to causing distress and alarm or being a nuisance. We have really cracked down on those who think it is acceptable to spoil our environment and drop litter or fly-tip. Recently, via the courts, we have sent a very strong message to those who fly-tip, prosecuting one of most prolific Doncaster fly-tippers. We work with partners including South Yorkshire Police, Town Centre Managers and local businesses to address anti-social behaviour that occurs in the town centre. Only by working together, and tackling the underlying issues, will we end this.

Bill Morrison, Chair of Trustees at East Doncaster Development Trust

Anti-social behaviour is a familiar phrase to us all. Where does it start and where will it end? In my view it starts at birth. If discipline and “right from wrong” is not taught from the start, we cultivate problems of the future – littering, spitting, chewing gum and bad language. All too often we hear “they are bored and have nothing to do”. What twaddle! Earlier generations had nothing to do, but used their imagination and initiative to keep themselves busy and amused. When offenders are confronted, their response is one of ignorance and abuse. Well, it’s time parents are taken to task! By that I mean, if the offender can’t be made to pay recompense, then make the parents face up to being responsible. The courts need to stop pandering to the moronic minority and deal out maximum penalties, not a slap on the wrist!

Frank Arrowsmith, Mayor of Edlington

Current legislation, often not backed by courts and local agencies’ strategic “one size fits all” approach, fails to address problem with children under ten. Anti-social behaviour, much criminal in nature, does have high incident rate of under-age children with older peer relationships influencing growth of this behaviour. Current approach and resources dealing with ASB concentrates on dealing with problems, not causes, while we have estates that belong in Victorian era, housing vulnerable and socially deprived families, high rates of unemployment, low expectations and educational aspirations. We need to reinforce parental responsibility or will continue to have a breeding ground for this behaviour. It will require a change in approach of seismic proportions and funding to address causes of ASB.

Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest, South Yorkshire Police

We are aware there are concerns within our communities about antisocial behaviour and I would like to offer my reassurance that we are dedicated to tackling and resolving the local issues raised. To achieve this we have been using a number of different approaches, which have included dedicated patrols in areas with increased reports, working with local partners to issue closure orders at premise that are causing disruption, and carrying out specialist operations to bring offenders to justice and provide community reassurance. This work will now continue and I would encourage anyone who has any concerns relating to antisocial behaviour to either speak to a local officer, or report it via 101. The safety of everyone in Doncaster is our number one priority and this remains the focus of all the work we do.