Vigilante risk over “light touch” approach to yobbish behaviour

Date: Wednesday 11th July 2018

Sir, It was interesting to see Rory Stewart, as prisons minister, pointing out (Herald, 30th June) that short (six to 12-month) prison sentences do not work.

In the Liberal Democrats we’ve been arguing the same for years, emphasising the dramatically better results achieved by community remedies in terms of reducing future reoffending.

I wonder, though, does Mr Stewart share the apparent view of his political colleague, police and crime commissioner Peter McCall, that very little can be done to alleviate antisocial behaviour?

At a recent executive board meeting, Mr McCall admitted how concerned the police were with the seeming rising tide of this, but did not offer to commit any extra resources to tackling the problem.

Does he in fact have any, one may well ask, once recent police pay rises have been paid out of a budget that has remained flat for some time.

Antisocial behaviour cannot solely have its blame laid on travellers and traveller-impersonators attending Appleby fair, though some would like to have us believe that.

Occurrences such as unnecessarily loud music, endlessly barking dogs, vehicles being driven over-noisily, fly-tipping or the dropping of litter can be found in all of our communities, with another myth, of course, being that it is only the young who are the blame.

We can all do something about antisocial behaviour; it starts with treating our neighbours and our visitors with respect.

However, if the approach of the public is to remain merely “light touch”, there’s a risk that some may be tempted to act as “community vigilantes” of their own designation. Yours etc,

NEIL HUGHES

(Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for Penrith and the Border)

Croft End,

Bampton.