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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 December, 2004, 14:20 GMT
Public's youth fears 'unfounded'
Youths generic
Police chiefs say the public worries over the mere presence of youths
Police chiefs have backed a senior officer who says many complaints about young people's behaviour are unfounded.

West Midlands Police Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee said his force received many 999 calls from people worried by the mere presence of youths on streets.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said it shared Mr Scott-Lee's concerns.

It said young people were too often seen as a threat, even when their conduct gave no cause for complaint.

Mr Scott-Lee said his force received "hundreds of thousands of complaints" about young people every year, but often they were doing nothing wrong, "simply existing or walking down the street".

'Social behaviour'

He said the youths' behaviour was "often social, rather than anti-social" but the public called police just in case the young people started behaving badly.

Too often young people are branded as unruly and anti-social
Victoria Lamburn, Brighton, East Sussex

Acpo backed Mr Scott-Lee's comments, which were made earlier this week.

It said the "demonisation of young people" was a national problem and one that officers were aware of.

George McNamara, public policy officer for the National Children's Home said linking young people to anti-social behaviour is unfair.

"Young people are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators," he said.

"It's only a small minority that act anti-socially. It's wrong that other people are tarred with the same brush."

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