An­ti­so­cial youths face ban from Aberdeen city cen­tre

● Po­lice ask for pow­ers to crack down on ‘ core few’

The Scotsman - - AROUND SCOTLAND - By CATH ASCROFT

Trou­ble some chil­dren as young as 12 are fac­ing a 24- hour ban from Aberdeen city cen­tre for mis­be­hav­ing in pub­lic.

Po­lice are ask­ing for the power to pro­hibit youths for a day in the city’s main ar­eas fol­low­ing a rise in an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

A pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the dis­per­sal zone has now been launched to try and tackle the prob­lem.

Of­fi­cers have iden­ti­fied a “core few” who are “in­tent on caus­ing harm” and say the sit­u­a­tion is made all the more chal­leng­ing be­cause the group ranges in age be­tween 12 and 20.

Groups of young­sters are com­ing from out­ly­ing ar­eas like Peter­head, El­lon, Ban­chory and In­verurie to con­gre­gate and cause trou­ble in the city.

Last month, a brawl broke out in­volv­ing 30 youth sin the city cen­tre. Just days later three young peo­ple, in­clud­ing a 15- year- old boy, were charged in con­nec­tion with an at­tempted mur­der on Union Ter­race.

Un­der the dis­per­sal or­der, which would be in place for three months, of­fi­cers would be able to or­der groups of two or more to leave spe­cific ar­eas be­tween 12pm and mid­night.

Chil­dren caught back there would be re­ported to the youth jus­tice man­age­ment unit. Adults could face a £ 2,500 fine or a three month cus­to­dial sen­tence.

In­spec­tor Vicky Sta­bles said: “This is to break the cy­cle of of­fend­ing.

“This is for those in­tent on caus­ing harm – t hose are go­ing about in an in­tim­i­dat­ing man­ner.

“Those who come to the city cen­tre le­git­i­mately and be­have in a per­fectly nor­mal man­ner will not be tar­geted.

“Just be­cause you’ re in a group of five or six does not mean you will be asked to leave.”

It would give po­lice the power to or­der groups of young peo­ple be­hav­ing anti- so­cially to leave the area un­less they live there and not re­turn for 24 hours.

Po­lice say they would try to di­vert young­sters to more pos­i­tive ac­tiv­i­ties and sup­port such as so­cial work­ers or the Street­sport youth sport ses­sions across Aberdeen.

The pro­posed area to be zoned off in­cludes the whole of the cen­tral Union Street, the main shop­ping cen­tres and the sur­round­ing ar­eas to try pre­vent “mov­ing the prob­lem along” to an­other part of the city.

Insp Sta­bles said: “It is quite a sig­nif­i­cant area – we’re con­scious of that.”

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