Asbos are working

Your front page article (YEP, August 24) about the 10m reduction in the cost of crime in the city as the result of the crackdown on yobs in Little London last year makes pleasant reading.

The hard work of the council's anti-social behaviour officers, in conjunction with the police and more importantly with the help of local people is finally paying off and making a real difference to local people's lives.

Last year we took a gamble and issued a record number of anti Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) in one go, to tackle drug dealing in the Little London area. This gamble has now paid off and the figures released show that burglaries have almost halved and other crime is down.

I know from talking to the people in Little London that they have noticed a difference but when I was there last week, they told me that some of the drug dealers had begun to start to creep back in.

Throughout last year we heard the Tory Leader on Leeds City Council, Councillor Andrew Carter claim that Asbos were too expensive and did not work. His new partner and Leader of the Council, Liberal Democrat Councillor Mark Harris also spent the year failing to justify why his party refused to back the new anti-social behaviour powers in Parliament.

The ball is now in their court. Our work last year has proved that Asbos do work but only when they are followed up and enforced. My visit to Little London was a warning sign that action needs to be taken to make sure that the dealers don't return to blight that estate once more.

I will work with my Labour colleagues to ensure that tackling anti-social behaviour remains a high priority for the new administration. It is up to them to demonstrate to the people of Little London and the city as a whole, that they will provide the extra resources and commitment to do this.

If they do not, then sadly the community of Little London will return to living on an estate plagued by drug dealers and once again parents will be afraid to let their children play on the streets.

COUN Keith Wakefield, Leader of the Labour Group, Civic Hall, Leeds