The government’s fight against anti-social behaviour has been attacked by retailers who have seen their livelihoods put at risk by yobs.  Leading London c-store owner Kay Patel said trade had been “decimated” by teenage gang members who have turned his neighbourhood into a no-go zone after dark.

The brazen gang has ignored dispersal orders in place around his shop and intimidated police into crossing the road to avoid them. Police finally made a string of arrests last week – but not until Mr Patel’s Stratford shop was ransacked.
Members of the gang now face being issued with anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) – but he and other shopkeepers said they feared police powers weren’t enough.

“We have raised concerns with the effectiveness of ASBOs, but the police team have promised us that they will be effective,” said Mr Patel.  ASBOs were introduced as a flagship policy of the New Labour government in 1999 and heralded as a new weapon for communities to tackle minor crime and nuisance and a breach can spell five years in prison.

They are now being phased out in favour of new legislation including a community trigger which forces police to investigate if three calls are made about a particular nuisance.  “I’m not sure a community trigger will work because the community and I have already complained on at least 100 occasions and we still have no solution,” said Mr Patel.

Gloucestershire retailer Suthakar Krishnamoorthy, meanwhile, told RN this week police had done nothing to tackle anti-social behaviour near his shop which culminated in him and his father being stabbed.  “The government is failing local shops by not giving police the right powers and funding,” he said.  Mr Krishnamoorthy and his father Karthigesu were attacked last October by a teenager who had already been banned from their shop in Dursley. The 16-year-old was jailed for four years last week.