Alliance Party Justice Spokesperson, Stephen Farry, has backed the calls in today’s Irish News for the introduction of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, and called upon the Government to find a way around the institutional hurdles to allow their extension to Northern Ireland.
Dr Farry commented:
“The introduction of these measures was a significant plank in our recent Assembly Manifesto.
“There is a groundswell of support among the police, district Councils and some public sector agencies for the introduction of these orders into Northern Ireland.
“Most elected representatives are inundated with complaints from residents, particularly the elderly and other vulnerable people, about persistent anti-social behaviour. Problems can include: youths hanging around and being loutish, vandalism and criminal damage, drunken behaviour and underage drinking, harassment of residents or passers-by.
“At times, it is not each individual incident that causes the problem, but the rapid accumulation of a number of similar incidents.
“Anti-Social Behaviour Orders have been used to some effect in Great Britain since 1999. Home Office research published in 2002 found that the orders had delivered real improvements in the quality of life in numerous communities.
“Though obviously not the entire solution, they are a major plank of a wider community safety strategy. As usual, Northern Ireland lags behind the rest of the UK with innovative approaches to criminal justice.
“We have raised these issues with NIO Minister John Spellar. There does seem to a commitment in principle to extend them to Northern Ireland. However, it is important that the Government moves as swiftly as possible to find a way around the institutional hurdles that are frustrating the introduction of ASBOs here.”