It's no-go for teens

PUBLISHED: 15:44 27 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:56 24 May 2010

Portishead PC Marc Flavell with the zero-tolerance notices at the health centre.

Portishead PC Marc Flavell with the zero-tolerance notices at the health centre.

A ZERO-tolerance zone has been introduced at a notorious teenage troublespot in Portishead. Police in the town have made the area by Portishead Health Centre at Victoria Square into a no-go area for youngsters. Any young people found behaving antisocially

A ZERO-tolerance zone has been introduced at a notorious teenage troublespot in Portishead.Police in the town have made the area by Portishead Health Centre at Victoria Square into a no-go area for youngsters.Any young people found behaving antisocially, or loitering in the area, will be dealt with immediately and moved on by officers.The move was implemented a fortnight ago, with special signs going up on the health centre and on walls and lamp posts in the area.The idea has been such a success that police now say they may use the zero tolerance zone in other areas of the town.Portishead Police Sergeant Terry Scoble said: "There have been problems with antisocial behaviour in this area and the introduction of the zero-tolerance zone has worked well."The young people know it is in place and now respect it and do not gather there."They understand that if they are found there they will be dealt with harshly and any alcohol and cigarettes seized."The move to introduce the special zone followed numerous complaints from residents of Victoria Square who said the tearaway teens were causing chaos.The youngsters had also caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the health centre, climbing on top of bins then on to the roof of the building and ripping up tiles.They had also set light to the bins and a special prescription postbox attached to the front of the health centre.Health centre spokesman Dr Phillip Pemberton said: "Each time we replace the prescription postbox, the youngsters put matches in it and set it alight."The vandalism has got progressively worse over the years and we are constantly having to spend money on repairing the building."In the end it's the patients who suffer as it affects the services we are able to offer our patients."Local councillors have welcomed the introduction of the zones.Portishead councillor David Pasley said: "The zero-tolerance zones have sent a clear message to the young people that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated, and they respect that.

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