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Last Updated: Monday, 10 April 2006, 19:36 GMT 20:36 UK
Hoodies may face city shops ban
Youths wearing hooded tops could be banned in parts of Birmingham under new proposals from a political group.

City Conservatives' local election manifesto suggests looking at a ban on so-called "hoodies" in shopping and entertainment areas.

It would be the first of its kind in a British city tackling anti-social acts.

The Liberal Democrat group's leader said personal safety was important but the Labour group said it was unfair to brand all teenagers in the same way.

Conservative councillor Tim Huxtable said the idea follows a similar ban at the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent where visitor numbers increased.

The approach has to be proportionate to the problem because it has to be enforced
Tim Huxtable, Conservative councillor

He said the manifesto states the group would examine the "feasibility of banning hoodies in shopping areas to create a safer and more friendly environment".

Mr Huxtable said he envisaged bans being sought in a similar way to alcohol-restricted zone with either the police or community groups asking the council for a ban in a specific area which has a problem.

'Majority well-behaved'

"I would like to see the council empower police and local residents or managers of shopping centres to enforce such a ban," he said.

"The approach has to be proportionate to the problem because it has to be enforced."

Councillor Ian Ward, deputy leader of the Labour group, said the suggestion was "like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut".

"The majority of young people are fairly well behaved. The hoodie fashion is just that - a fashion some young people wear it but never do any wrong," he said.

"I think it needs to be a more sophisticated approach rather than a blanket ban which picks up everybody."

But Councillor Paul Tilsley, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, said the proposals may improve people's feelings of safety in the city.

"People's perception of safety is one of the reasons why people leave or do not come into the city as they don't feel safe," he said.


SEE ALSO:
Bouncer shot enforcing hoodie ban
14 Mar 06 |  Merseyside
Shop regrets 'hoodie' humiliation
21 Feb 06 |  Wiltshire
Police target youths in 'hoodies'
21 Oct 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts


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