TROUBLED teenagers should be taken on fishing trips rather than being on the receiving end of Antisocial Behaviour Orders (Asbos), according to one civic leader.

Bournemouth councillor Roger West said: "It might sound like a soft approach but we have to find things for youngsters to do to keep them out of mischief.

"We have to engage with them and taking them fishing has proved to be effective in other parts of the country."

However, Cllr West's sentiments weren't shared by local law and order campaigner Ken Pottle MBE.

The chairman of Branksome Park, Canford Cliffs and Sankbanks Neighbourhood Watch said: "The last thing you'd feel like doing if yobs damaged your property is take them fishing.

"What will it be next; a visit to Windsor Castle or the zoo? Where will that get you?

"I'd rather seeing them sweeping the streets in bright orange dungarees so the public could see them being punished "It's a bit like David Cameron's suggestion that you should put your arm around a hoodie.

"Having worked closely with the police in three counties, my opinion is that there should be zero tolerance for yobbish behaviour."

Cllr West told the Daily Echo he was opposed to Asbos because children viewed them as a badge of honour.

He said: "It is important we don't demonise youngsters. We have to get to the root of why they are behaving in an antisocial manner.

"Some of the fault lies within the education system. By 13 or 14 many youngsters don't see the point of going to school.

"There should be other options, like learning a trade. We don't issue many Asbos in Bournemouth which I'm glad about because they don't work."

Cllr West's comments came after a chief superintendent with Greater Manchester Police criticised the flagship Asbo policy in the government's "respect agenda". Neil Wain claimed that Britain's Asbo culture could be encouraging rising crime.

He suggested that instead of being named and shamed, youngsters should get more help to stop offending. Earlier this year Bournemouth was named as one of 40 new Respect Action Areas.

Dorset police head of partnership development Bob Gould revealed that there are currently 54 Asbos in Dorset. Forty relate to adults.

He said: "Asbos are seen as a last resort after attempts by various agencies to help parents and their children.

"Some kids are going to end up being criminals but we've discovered that, in many cases, lives can be turned around."

Dorset's chief crown prosecutor Kate Brown described Asbos as "an important tool designed to help alleviate unacceptable behaviour" in local communities.

She added: "If an Asbo is breached the offender is brought back in front of the court and could receive up to five years imprisonment."

Bournemouth's antisocial behaviour co-ordinator Jayne Robertson said: "People have a perception that antisocial behaviour is down to young people when they are more likely to be the victims. We have found that Asbos can stop young people's antisocial behaviour instantly and we have very low breach rates.

"We take a multi-agency approach but if someone's behaviour is intractable I can't see any answer, other than an Asbo."

  • In an on-line Echo poll 83 per cent of readers believed Asbos didn't work and 17 per cent said they did.