Rise in referrals for unruly behaviour 'positive'

An increase in young people being referred to an anti-social behaviour unit in Northamptonshire for low-level problems is "encouraging", police said.

The unit has had 31 such referrals in 2010 so far, which could project to 75 by the end of the year, police said.

Twenty-one referrals were made in 2008, which increased to 65 last year.

Police said this could be interpreted as indicating a serious problem but believe early identification of culprits can prevent further issues.

'Behaviour blights lives'

The intervention also gives parents an opportunity to put boundaries in place with appropriate consequences if they are breached, police added.

Jim Rae, the unit's "lower level" anti-social behaviour case manager, said: "Anti-social behaviour, which blights the lives of many people, is one of the force's main priorities.

"I take the view that the long-term solution is to intervene with those who are causing harassment, alarm or distress at the earliest stage possible.

"The increase in early low-level referrals is welcome because we can then get the right resources to the young person, and their parents, before they get into really serious situations.

"It is my experience, in many cases, that the realisation that their behaviour has consequences to others and themselves begins a process of change in that young person.

"I would encourage any parent whose son or daughter is becoming involved in unacceptable behaviour to persist in setting appropriate boundaries and not to relent when imposing consequences to breaking those behavioural boundaries."

Police work with other agencies to educate young people who are getting involved in anti-social behaviour.

The aim is to show them the consequences of their actions and get them involved in more positive activities.

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