Team reuniting to halt growing yob threat

PUBLISHED: 04:32 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:55 24 May 2010

A DISBANDED team of volunteers is to reform so it can fight growing youth problems in a Somerset town. Members of Axbridge's dormant Local Action Team (LAT) have decided it is time to regroup to look at measures such as drink bans and employing youth work

A DISBANDED team of volunteers is to reform so it can fight growing youth problems in a Somerset town.Members of Axbridge's dormant Local Action Team (LAT) have decided it is time to regroup to look at measures such as drink bans and employing youth workers to tackle problems with young people.The team decided to reform after a public meeting was held with police at the Town Hall this week. Around 70 people turned up to tell of problems of vandalism, intimidation, under-age drinking and arson.Police have promised to increase patrols in problem areas at traditionally troublesome times. The town will also get two dedicated Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) by April.The LAT will look at starting a Neighbourhood Watch-style scheme, called Squarewatch, in the centre of the medieval town and a Pubwatch scheme with licensees.Problems with rogue youngsters are steadily getting worse and although most incidents tend to take place in the town's square, West Street, Moorland Street and The Furlong playing fields are also becoming troublespots.LAT member Annabel Hackney said: "I was surprised by the scope of the antisocial behaviour in the town, and a lot of people told of worrying incidents, even of people starting fires on The Furlong."The meeting had to take place because we need to start doing things as soon as possible."We agreed to rejuvenate the LAT to look at introducing a drink ban because a lot of the problems seemed to be linked to alcohol."We decided a dispersal order was too draconian but a lot of people are concerned that we no longer have dedicated year-round youth workers."We will be trying to get outreach workers for youngsters who could work out why they are doing what they are doing. We are also keen on starting a Pubwatch scheme where drinkers, if they were thrown out of one pub, would be excluded from all the pubs in the town.

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