15 January 2004 Edition

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Community support needed to combat anti-social behaviour

Sinn Féin Councillor Brendan Curran has challenged the effectiveness of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOS) which has been proposed as a new method in dealing with anti-social behaviour in the community.

"On Thursday I attended a meeting of the "Housing Council" during which it was proposed that ASBOS would be an effective method of dealing with anti-social activity in the Six Counties," said Curran.

"In theory, ASBOS could be a very useful method to employ in dealing with problems caused by anti-social behaviour but there is a heavy reliance on support for the PSNI if this scheme is to function properly. However there is still huge mistrust and very little support for the PSNI within the nationalist community. The legacy of state collusion in the murder of members of that community and the fact that Special Branch remain a force within a force as an integral part of the PSNI means that many within the nationalist community will withhold their support and co-operation until such times as we have an acceptable policing service.

"Locally here in Newry a Community Restorative Justice (CRJ) group was set up 12 months ago in the greater Barcroft area and has been successful in attracting working members from youth and community workers, local clergy, trade union members and councillors from several political parties. This committee is working with the full cooperation of the community and has proved very effective in combating anti-social behaviour and other community problems. CRJ is focused strictly on rebuilding relationships between victims and offenders. What we need is more resources for these already existing community led schemes that have earned the respect and support of the community in areas affected by this type of criminality."

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1