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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 15:17 GMT
Unruly behaviour move defended
Electronic tagging
Electronic tagging will be extended to under-16s
The new legislation on anti-social behaviour will be "a defining moment" for the Scottish Parliament, according to the communities minister.

Speaking at Scottish Labour's annual conference in Inverness, Margaret Curran defended the move.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill aims to force parents to take responsibility for their offspring and extend electronic tagging to under-16s.

It would also give police new powers to disperse groups.

Ms Curran rejected criticism of the legislation and told the conference some local communities refused the offer of play parks or open spaces because these would become the focus of disorder.

She said: "We have to confront the reality of millions of pounds of wasted investment into houses and streets where no-one wants to live because of a local environment blighted by anti-social behaviour.

If the middle class journalists sitting in the wine-bars find this boring, too bad
Margaret Curran
Communities minister
"This type of behaviour cannot go unchallenged. All other parties have - but we will not hide from the realities.

"Labour is determined to ensure the focus of our parliament is on the real experiences of real people.

"If the middle class journalists sitting in the wine-bars find this boring, too bad."

Activist Helena Brackenridge told the conference that young people themselves were the victims of anti-social behaviour.

"We are sending a clear signal that those who disrespect their communities, young or old, will no longer have the upper hand," she said.

Johann Lamont, MSP for Glasgow Pollok, told delegates that anti-social behaviour undermined efforts to improve other services like transport.

She said: "You will never secure social inclusion if you have families frightened in their homes, embarrassed to bring friends back, and whose only desire is to get out of the communities they have created - and when they seek help, the great and the good sneer."

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20 Jan 04  |  Scotland
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13 Jan 04  |  Scotland

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