Tackling anti-social behaviour and criminal damage this Christmas

POLICE chiefs will be getting even tougher on alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour and criminal damage in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas.

As the festive period approaches, people will be heading out into town centres to celebrate and take part in office parties, but police are warning that excessive drunkenness, vandalism and public order offences will not be tolerated.

Anti-social behaviour is any action that upsets someone else or makes an individual feel frightened or worried. Many people are not aware of the harmful effects that anti-social behaviour can have on communities or of the serious legal implications of carrying out this type of crime.

Shouting and swearing may seem harmless, but people who walk past could become upset or scared. Scratching someone's car or breaking off a wing mirror will cost the owner money to repair it and could get you in trouble with the police. If you are caught you could get a criminal record for life.

If involved with anti-social behaviour the police will take names and addresses and put it on a database. Persistent behaviour could result in Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) or Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBOs). ASBOs often attract media attention and a breach is an arrestable offence.

A criminal record can affect job prospects, even voluntary work. Prosecutions, fines, reprimands or final warnings can affect criminal records so a minor offence can seriously ruin your future.

SNTs are warning all offenders that they will be dealt with positively; either through community resolution whereby damage is repaired or via prosecution.

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Staying safe and protecting your belongings is simple:

• Don't flash your mobile about.

• Stick to well lit and busy areas after work.

• Try to walk with friends at night, not alone.

• Remember you're much more vulnerable if your under the influence of drink or drugs.

• Walk away from groups that might provoke you.

• In an emergency dial 999.

Suffolk Police is urging everyone to report anti-social behaviour, vandalism or criminal damage that have occurred by local SNTs on 01473 613500 or dialling 999 if they see it in progress.

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