Boys, 9, could be given ‘baby asbos’

TWO nine-year-old boys are being considered for "baby Asbos" by Swindon Council.

If applied, the baby Asbos, or Child Safety Orders, would be the first in the country.

The Government has introduced the orders, which if granted give councils the power to put youngsters under the supervision of social services or a youth offending team.

They can be used on children 10 or under, who are under the age of criminal responsibility but are committing offences which are serious enough to warrant an arrest.

Swindon Council anti-social behaviour unit manager Cheri Wright said the first boy had a heroin addict father and had fallen in with the wrong crowd.

"I don't think it's right to say where they live," Ms Wright told the council's community, housing and social care overview committee meeting last night.

"This person is nine and not in a particularly stable family environment.

"The dad's a heroin addict who was on a drug rehabilitation order.

"The boy was left to his own devices and fell in with the wrong people.

"His behaviour was clearly escalating.

"He was on an anti-social behaviour contract and was complying with that until recently."

The second nine-year-old had similar problems, Ms Wright said.

"There are similar problems with another young person who's not complying with an ABC," Ms Wright said.

The council committee is expected to establish a taskforce to streamline how the council deals with anti-social behaviour. The committee report says the baby Asbos are designed to prevent further offending.

The aim is to catch troublemakers early and help families get back on the right track.

The council documents say the compulsory order would place the child under the supervision of the council and its Youth Offending Team or social services.

The council documents say the child is being given another chance before the order is applied.

"Nationally, no local authorities have applied for a CSO, however a young person has been identified as a possible candidate but other intervention is being tried," the report says.

The powers come from changes introduced by the Government in March last year that allow the council to apply for a 12-month "baby Asbo" to children under 10.

The move was aimed at catching troublemakers early to give them and their families help to get back on the straight and narrow. Unlike normal Asbos, baby Asbo children are not expected to be named and shamed by the council.

According to the report, the council has handed out 26 Asbos and 18 dispersal orders.

Between April and July 15 people signed ABCs - voluntary agreements usually used for young people and the step before an Asbo application.

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