PARENTS are being urged to take responsibility for children's bad behaviour after new figures showed complaints of antisocial behaviour in Bournemouth and Poole are rising.
Bournemouth council's antisocial behaviour co-ordinator Jayne Robertson has revealed that 15,839 incidents were reported to police during 006/2007, compared with 13,338 during 2004/2005. And in Poole 9,270 complaints were reported in 2006/2007 - an increase of 825 on the previous year.
Addressing a meeting of the Throop, Muscliff, Strouden, Townsend and Holdenhurst area forum, Ms Robertson said: "There could be a number of reasons for this rise.
"It could be that antisocial behaviour is on the rise or that people are getting more confident in reporting this type of behaviour. We have been trying to encourage them to report it."
Local residents heard how antisocial behaviour incidents had escalated in the Strouden Park area, with 126 incidents reported to police during a six-month period four years ago, compared to 163 in the last six months.
But in the once troubled Townsend estate reports of antisocial behaviour have dropped from 254 to 218.
In Muscliff there has been a dramatic rise, from 105 during a six-month period four years ago, to 182 in the past six months.
Ms Robertson described the statistics for Muscliff as "quite a big jump".
She added: "Parents need to take responsibility for their children's behaviour.
"Bournemouth is now a Respect Action Area and we have been given more powers, such as parental contracts."
Muscliff ward councillor Ron Whittaker has called for a greater police presence in Muscliff to help combat antisocial behaviour. He said: "The government talks so much about policing and reducing crime levels but it is not the picture I am receiving from residents."
There are currently two antisocial behaviour orders in place in the Townsend area.
Ms Robertson said: "One is currently active in Strouden Park and we are applying for another three in the area."
Anthi Stylianou, community safety officer for the Poole Safe Together Partnership, said the council had been working on a community-based approach rather than strict enforcement, targeting resources in Hamworthy, Alderney and Poole Town and Oakdale.
She said: "What we want to do is get our community development workers out there to build up relationships rather than relying on enforcement.
"Working with people and engaging with the community seems to be working."
Just five under-18s in Poole currently have Asbos and there are 15 active orders in the borough.
Miss Stylianou said: "In some cases, when all else has failed, we will have to go down that route, but we have seen a drop in the number of Asbos."
She put the rise in the number of reported incidents down to ongoing projects to promote awareness of antisocial behaviour.
She said: "We haven't seen a huge increase. I believe it's down to more awareness - I think people increasingly understand what to tolerate and what not to tolerate."
She said the borough had been ranked as the second safest place to live in the country based on crime figures and population.
"I think that is something we really need to be proud of," she added.