A LOCAL authority is considering bringing in bylaws to provide community work programmes for people who “make life hell for ordinary decent citizens”.
The probation service or Garda Reserve, it has been suggested, could be used to supervise community service orders for those convicted of antisocial behaviour. The novel proposal from Cork County Council is to be presented to a joint policing committee.
Councillor Deirdre Forde said, in addition to low-level offenders, bylaws could be considered to include all types of antisocial behaviour. “Noisy parties are a huge problem. So, too, are boy-racers who drive around estates after dark with noisy exhausts. There are vandals and also people who daub graffiti on walls and others who let their dogs bark all day and night.
“All these types of antisocial behaviour should be included in the bylaws,” said the councillor, whose proposals were unanimously backed by her colleagues on the county council.
The Fine Gael councillor said: “This kind of behaviour often makes life hell for ordinary, decent citizens and it needs to be tackled.”
Details of the proposals will be discussed next Monday when senior gardaí and local authority officials attend a meeting of the county’s joint policing committee. Ms Forde has been invited to the meeting to present a paper on the introduction of bylaws which would contain a number of offences punishable with community work orders.
She said some local authorities in Scotland had introduced legislation to allow for those found indulging in antisocial behaviour to be given community reparation orders (CROs). She said these orders for breaching the proposed bylaws could be used to deal with relatively low-level antisocial crimes.
They focus specifically on making reparation for antisocial behaviour by providing between 10 to 100 hours of unpaid work on behalf of the community.
Similar bylaws have also been introduced in parts of Canada. She also wants offenders to be forced to wear a special uniform which will show the public they are working for the community as reparation for their behaviour.
In 2004, the county council introduced bylaws against drinking in public places.
She said the Garda Reserve or the Probation Service could be used to supervise people on work programmes, such as cleaning up litter, cutting lawns or removing graffiti. Other councillors, notably Fine Gael Gerry Kelly have said such bylaws would be far more effective than the antisocial behaviour orders(ASBOs) introduced by junior minister Billy Kelleher.
ASBOs were originally introduced in Coventry in Britain’s West Midlands but the city council there has admitted they did not work.
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