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14/04/2005

First NI ASBO granted to north Antrim teenager

The first Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) to be issued in Northern Ireland was granted on Wednesday April 13.

The interim order applies to a 15-year-old youth in the north Antrim area, who cannot be named for legal reasons. The terms of the ABSO will place restrictions on his behaviour and movements over the next eight weeks in the Coleraine Borough Council area.

Chief Inspector Dianne Crockard, from the PSNI’s Community Safety Branch, said: "ASBOs are an important addition to the range of statutory responses already available to tackle anti-social behaviour. We are hopeful that further applications will be successful in the near future in various parts of Northern Ireland against various individuals.

"The circumstances of the first case are peculiar in as much as they relate to a young person who cannot be identified but there is an important underlying message for communities.”

Ulster Unionist Assembly member for the area, Norman Hillis, said Thursday’s news showed that authorities were prepared to take a no-nonsense attitude to anyone involved in anti-social activities.

“This action clearly indicates that there is now a measure in place which empowers communities to protect themselves from anti-social elements and I welcome their no-nonsense approach,” he said.

Ulster Unionist Westminster candidate for North Down, Lady Sylvia Hermon, also welcomed the news.

“We in the Ulster Unionist Party have worked extremely hard to make sure the legislation was put in place to introduce ASBOs in Northern Ireland.

“There is no doubt that anti-social behaviour is a real scourge for many communities across the Province. So, this first ASBO should give them encouragement that at long last this really serious issue is going to be tackled vigorously,” she added.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders are designed to prevent behaviour which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others.

The purpose of an ASBO is to protect the public from the behaviour of those individuals whose anti-social activities disrupt the lives of the wider community.

(MB/GB)