No zero tolerance

YOUR article (August 29) about anti-social behaviour at the green near Trafalgar Road included the sub-heading zero tolerance on vandals . Over the past three months, when I have been driving down the Great North Road, I have regularly seen large groups

YOUR article (August 29) about anti-social behaviour at the green near Trafalgar Road included the sub-heading "zero tolerance on vandals".

Over the past three months, when I have been driving down the Great North Road, I have regularly seen large groups of teenagers congregating at the top of the footpath that leads to the green, particularly on a Friday evening. On occasions I have seen them throw objects such as empty beer cans at passing cars, or step into the road forcing cars to stop - followed by the inevitable abuse and intimidation of the driver.

So why has this problem persisted for months? I would suggest that there are two main reasons. First, it takes the police 30 minutes or more to respond to any incident of anti-social behaviour. Secondly, when they do arrive, they always use high-visibility marked cars - so the culprits simply disperse before they are caught committing any misdemeanours.

The obvious solution is for the police to stake out known trouble spots, using plain clothes officers and unmarked cars. When I've suggested this to the police in the past, I was told that they don't have the resource to wait for crimes to be committed. Rather, they can respond only after the event. Strange, however, that they have the resource to very regularly have police cars sat on various "police vehicle only" ramps next to the A1, waiting for motorists to commit offences.

Zero tolerance my foot. The reality is that there is total tolerance of anti-social behaviour, because the police can't be bothered to tackle it, while members of the general public are afraid to take action themselves because the law now favours those who commit crimes, rather than those who defend themselves.

CHRIS HUGHES, Eaton Ford

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