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Last Updated: Friday, 23 April, 2004, 07:39 GMT 08:39 UK
Legal challenge to youth curfew
Cumbria Police are facing legal action over a night-time curfew imposed on children.

The civil rights group Liberty, says the street ban on under-16s in Wigton contravened human rights laws.

The Easter holiday curfew was the first of its kind in Cumbria and followed new legislation to reduce anti-social behaviour.

But Liberty says it plans a High Court action against the force.

Officers were able to take home unsupervised teenagers caught on the streets after 2100 BST and before 0600 BST.

During the two-week operation, which has been copied by other forces throughout the UK, 13 youths were returned home.

Our concern is that since what happened in Wigton, other police forces are doing the same thing
Barry Hugill, Liberty

They were seven girls, six boys, with the youngest being a 10-year-old found on the streets at 2320 BST.

But Liberty spokesman Barry Hugill said: "In the view of our lawyers, the actions of Cumbria Police were in contravention of the European convention on human rights, to which Britain is a signatory.

"We plan to make a High Court challenge to get a ruling whether we are correct or not.

"We were contacted by a youngster in Wigton and we sent our lawyers up to the town to see what was happening.

Street bans

"Our concern is that since what happened in Wigton, other police forces are doing the same thing.

"So by the summer holidays we are expected curfews in about 60% of police forces in the UK."

Cumbria Police and residents declared the Wigton curfew a success.

Now other forces in the north of England, including Durham and Cleveland, are to impose similar street bans.

Mr Hugill added: "There are youngsters who behave badly and we have no objection to the full force of the law being used against them.

"What we object to is that because of the wrongdoing of a tiny minority, the majority are punished."

Teenage curfew 'reduced disorder'
19 Apr 04  |  Cumbria
Teenage curfew hailed a success
18 Apr 04  |  Cumbria
Curfew bans teenagers from town
02 Apr 04  |  Cumbria

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