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Hot line opens in fight to beat yobs.

Byline: By Peter Young

A major initiative in the battle against yobs was launched on Tyneside today by Home Office Minister Hazel Blears.

A telephone hotline is being set up in 25 action areas across the country which people can use to report problems with anti-social behaviour.

Four are in the North East in Newcastle, Sunderland, Gateshead and South Tyneside, where the hot line operates from today.

People will be encouraged to report problems in their neighbourhoods, including intimidation, nuisance neighbours, damage, graffiti and abandoned cars.

Posters with the new hot line number, 0845 605 2222, will be on display and information will be delivered to people's homes.

Residents, who will be asked for their post code when they call the action line, will later be told what has been done to deal with their complaints.

The scheme will be introduced in different parts of the country over the next six weeks. Callers outside the action areas will be asked to contact their local council or police in the usual way.

Tackling anti-social behaviour is one of the Government's main priorities in the battle against crime and the It's Your Call phone line is part of a national Together campaign.

Ms Blears, who was in North Benwell, Newcastle, said: "What we're saying today is simple: It's your call. Pick up the phone and make a difference.

"Together we can tackle anti-social behaviour. We have brought in tough new laws and an ambitious national action plan providing the tools and the expertise for police and local authorities to tackle the minority who can blight communities and make people's lives hell.

"But there is still more to do. We need the public to play their part and take some responsibility for where they live. Engaging local people is vital to create strong communities and tackling the thugs who can destroy people's quality of life and ruin neighbourhoods.

"It's Your Call is a new drive to bring public services and local people closer together putting power in the hands of local people to get things done."
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Copyright 2005 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2005
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