Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been granted injunctions against eight teenagers to protect businesses and residents from anti-social behaviour in two communities.
The injunctions were granted at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Monday, August 19 following a series of incidents of differing severity in Meir and Meir Park over a 12-month period.
The city council, in partnership with and supported by Staffordshire Police, secured interim injunctions against the eight individuals in February pending the outcome of this week’s full hearing, where final injunctions were made by a District Judge under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014.
The injunctions will be in place until 11.59pm on February 12, 2020 and were made against Jordan Lowndes, aged 16; Charley Reynolds, aged 15; Jaccari Martin, aged 14; Kieron Rushton, aged 17; Tyler Ward, aged 16; Wade Gibben, aged 17; Harvey Watkiss, aged 14; and 17-year-old Lewis Stevenson.
The injunctions prohibit the named youths from:
- going into the centre of Meir and the retail area of Meir Park, except for specific reasons which are set out in the injunction
- engaging in behaviour which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress while in each other’s company in Stoke-on-Trent
- congregating in a group of three youths or more in the centre of Meir and Meir Park’s retail area
- wearing clothing or other garments, in a public place, which at that time is being used to obscure their face
- acting in an anti-social manner in any public place in the city whether or not they are with the rest of the group; or are with other persons not named in the order; or are by themselves
Breach of the injunction could result in arrest and being taken to court, where punishment could include a supervision order or a detention order. Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions were introduced under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, replacing, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), and allow the city council to be flexible in its approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Randy Conteh, cabinet member for communities and safer city, said: “Everyone has the right to live and work without fear of intimidation, nuisance or harassment. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of both the council and the police, the individuals continued to cause problems for the communities, despite having plenty of opportunities to change their behaviour. These injunctions are a last resort and it is disappointing we have had to go down this road, but in the end a line has to be drawn.
“We have been working with our partners in the police and other agencies to try to address the anti-social behaviour caused by these people for some time. We have also been putting arrangements in place to ensure we are providing the appropriate services for the young people and families who live in the Meir area.
“Proactive youth work is carried out in Meir, with a number of ongoing activities organised, delivered and paid for by the city council. These include two weekly youth sessions at Meir Community Education Centre.
“These hearings were a result of many months working with our partners in the police to gather evidence about the ongoing criminal and anti-social activity that was being carried out by these young people. Hopefully, these injunctions will help to alleviate some of the anti-social behaviour that people living and working in the Meir and Meir Park areas have been subjected to.”
Chief Inspector Karen Stevenson, neighbourhood policing commander for Stoke South, said: “We work hard to tackle anti-social behaviour as we recognise the impact that this has on our local communities. This group were responsible for causing significant issues in the Meir and Meir Park areas.
“It is not always appropriate to take criminal action, particularly with children, so the civil injunction was the most effective method to tackle the issues. This order has already seen significant decreases of incidents reported.”
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