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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 14:44 GMT 15:44 UK
Warning over paedophobic society
Young people
Greens said young people should be supported not demonised
Anti-social behaviour laws are criminalising Scotland's young people, according to the Scottish Green Party.

Green MSPs said new legislation was aggressive and diverting resources from supporting families and addressing the causes of anti-social behaviour.

Glasgow list MSP Patrick Harvie said the laws reinforced the idea young people were to be feared.

His comments came after three Moray teenagers were banned from large areas of Forres for five years.

Damien Grant, 17, Hassan Ali, 18, and Jamie Wright, 19, were each served with anti-social behaviour orders (Asbo) at Elgin Sheriff Court.

Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie
The problem is we are creating a society that doesn't meet young people's needs
Patrick Harvie MSP

Alasdair Urquhart, Independent councillor for Forres West and Altyre, said: "These are three young people who have been causing disruptive behaviour over a period of time.

"I hope this message is given out loud and clear to other young people considering such action that it will not be tolerated."

The Scottish Green Party said an Asbo must only be used as a last resort and in extreme cases.

It called for family and community support with a focus on prevention and rehabilitation.

'Emotional skills'

Mr Harvie said children and young people were reduced to stereotypes - either as innocents who needed to be protected or as problems to be contained.

"The vast majority of young people are between these two extremes and the problem is we are creating a society that doesn't meet their needs," he said.

"Giving an enforcement order is an absolute last step.

"We need to ensure we are reaching it less often, partly by funding children's services more effectively and creating a society that is more supportive."

The Scottish Executive said the behaviour of about one in 500 young people was a persistent problem.

A spokeswoman said: "The Anti-social Behaviour Act is designed to ensure that action is taken as early as possible to address this problem behaviour before it spirals out of control and the young people become involved in more serious crimes.

"We do however agree that the tools in the act are not the only answer.

"That's why we are also working with local agencies to try and prevent young people becoming involved in ASB and offending in the first place, and divert those who are showing signs of this into positive activities."

Green MSPs will lead a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday.


SEE ALSO
Locals hailed for reducing crime
25 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Moray teenagers given Asbo bans
24 Oct 06 |  North East/N Isles
Asbo tour 'prompts 800 reports'
11 Aug 06 |  Scotland
Majority of councils using Asbos
02 Dec 05 |  Scotland

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