Page last updated at 12:12 GMT, Tuesday, 18 October 2011 13:12 UK

Anti-social behaviour

The timing of the debate on anti-social behaviour coincided with the development of a new community safety strategy, the Justice Minister told the assembly, on 18 October 2011.

David Ford echoed the views of many in the chamber that, contrary to the appeal laid out in the DUP motion to invest the police with extra powers to combat anti-social behaviour, the PSNI currently use measures such as dispersal orders sparingly.

Instead, emphasis on the work of voluntary groups and stronger community involvement was recommended, he said.

Early intervention to include parents, and the involvement of the health and education sectors were also options that were being considered as part of reducing anti-social behaviour, the minister added.

Jim Wells for the DUP said that his party wanted the police to have powers to deal with situations of anti-social behaviour where the committing of a crime could be pre-empted.

However, Basil McCrea speaking to the UUP amendment to delegate greater resources to Community Safety Partnerships and District Policing Partnerships, said that the DUP motion had not been stood up by evidence or argument.

His view was echoed by Sinn Fein's Pat Sheehan who said that, although he was not opposed in principle to giving police more powers, his party had difficulty with the original motion because the PSNI had not asked for more powers, and the best results came from police and statutory community agencies working together.

The SDLP's Conall McDevitt added that he believed that the assembly had missed an opportunity to make it a legal requirement for statutory agencies to cooperate with community policing interventions, in the passing of the Justice Bill earlier in the year.

The amended motion passed.


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