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' Anti-social behaviour could lead to jail.

MERSEYSIDE Police has begun a crusade against yob disorder.

Chief constable Bernard Hogan-Howe has made fighting anti-social behaviour the top priority for the hundreds of neighbourhood officers in the force.

Yesterday officers began the first day of the new campaign by carrying out a raid in Wirral. Many more will follow across Merseyside.

Mr Hogan-Howe has promised every reported incident of 'intolerable' yob behaviour will be investigated. He said: 'If we get to the stage where we say we won't investigate criminal damage I'll pack it in. Police forces are here to investigate crime - it's indefensible for us to ignore anti-social behaviour.

'Wherever you live in Merseyside there's a risk you will be a victim of anti-social behaviour and that's not good enough.'

The force estimates twothirds of officer time in the evenings and one-third at weekends is spent on antisocial behaviour.

The new campaign starts by targeting under-18s and those who supply them with drink and drugs Off-licences will be warned that they will be prosecuted immediately if they knowingly sell alcohol to youngsters.

Children will be sent into shops to buy booze to catch out suspect businesses.

Later in the year, officers will focus on offences such as criminal damage, dangerous driving and binge-drinking.

A checklist will ensure repeat offenders are punished more heavily than one-off criminals.

First-time offenders could be let off with a warning, but a second offence would be followed by an acceptable behaviour contract to keep them out of trouble A third offence would earn an on-the-spot fine of up to pounds 80 and a fourth would lead to the force applying for an Asbo.

Any further offending could be followed by jail.

Mr Hogan-Howe said: 'People should start to see a difference from now.

'We should have improvements if not in the first 24 hours then month by month.

I think people will notice the impact quickly.'

The force is also keen to speak to anyone who may know who is responsible for trouble in the region.

Anyone with information about yob disorder should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111

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CRUSADE: Bernard Hogan-Howe
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 14, 2005
Words:353
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