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Newspaper criticised for naming and shaming ASBO youths

The Citizen in Gloucester has been criticised by the Green Party after it named and shamed two teenagers who have been made the subject of anti-social behaviour orders.

The Gloucester Green party says it is “deeply concerned” that the youths – who received lengthy ASBOs after being accused of assault, drug use and abusive language – were featured in a front page report in The Citizen.

The men also feature on 2,000 leaflets produced by the Gloucester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, but the Green Party says naming and shaming is not the way to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Spokesperson Elinor Croxall said: “How can we justify the naming and shaming of children for behaviour that is not even classed as criminal when we happily protect the identity of other criminals?

“Naming and shaming can only alienate these young people further and possibly lead to greater problems further down the road – plus there is the threat of vigilante action.”

However Ian Mean, editor of The Citizen, said the newspaper stood by its decision, and the Green Party’s claims were “utter claptrap”.

He said: “These young men had been featured on 2,000 leaflets distributed in the Matson and Abbeydale areas of Gloucester by the Gloucester Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

“The purpose of the leaflets was to point out to the public who they are and, most importantly, the restrictions that have placed upon them.

“Now this newspaper has been heavily criticised by the Gloucester Green Party. Its members claim the publicity was unjustified and ‘used against vulnerable people with complex problems’.

“The Greens claim not enough has been done to tackle the underlying problems in our society, that these youngsters come from deprived backgrounds and somehow this excuses the unacceptable way they behave.

“Not so. Many young people from disadvantaged beginnings make the grade and some are spectacularly successful.

“ASBOs may not be the complete answer to anti-social behaviour but they are a start and send out the clear message that enough is enough.

“Yes, we must provide resources to improve deprived areas. But at the same time we have a duty to ensure that everyone can live in a society free of fear and thuggery.”