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BBC Wales's Louise Elliot
"In Wrexham, police are now using new powers for the first time."
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Wednesday, 17 May, 2000, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
Tough new juvenile crime measures
Youngsters on street
Police say around 20% of complaints are about juveniles
Police are using tough new measures to stop teenagers who terrorise neighbourhoods with harassment and intimidation.

In the first case of its kind in Wales, attempts are being made through the courts to control the behaviour of a 12-year-old boy from Wrexham.

While many youngsters hanging around on streets are usually harmless, police say that around 20% of all the calls they receive are complaints about teenage behaviour.


Inspector Mike Mullis
Inspector Mike Mullis

In Wrexham, police are now using new powers for the first time.

"If you ask the public what problems they have got, juvenile nuisance is a very high one. It always has been," said Inspector Mike Mullis of North Wales Police.

"And it makes the public's life miserable. You have children outside creating a lot of noise disturbance when particularly the old people want peace and quiet."

Officers have now got the names of more than 700 troublemakers and the process to apply for a strict anti-social behaviour order against a 12-year-old boy has begun.


Malcolm King
Malcolm King of the Venture Project

Many communities are working to help themselves. At the Venture Project in Wrexham, youngsters are offered alternatives to keep them off the streets.

"We can encourage their ambition to do well at school and for schools to be geared up for less academically-inclined children ," explained Venture Project manager Malcolm King.

"I think the other thing really is to win the war against drugs."

Meanwhile, the message is clear - if youngsters and their parents continue to ignore warnings about their anti-social and often criminal behaviour, police say they will be dealt with in court.

And, they add, as a last resort the youngsters even face being removed from their homes and families.

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