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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 17:15HRS

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COUNCIL AND POLICE TEAM UP TO COMBAT TROUBLESOME PUPILS ON SCHOOL BUSES ...
COUNCIL AND POLICE TEAM UP TO COMBAT TROUBLESOME PUPILS ON SCHOOL BUSES

Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC and South Wales Police have agreed a new initiative to target the behaviour of some pupils on school buses, a scheme is said by the council to be the first of its kind in Wales. It will involve both community police officers and support officers in helping to reinforce acceptable standards of behaviour by pupils, the council told The Western Mail(18/2/04, p5).

CAMDEN INVITES FEEDBACK FROM DRUG ADDICT ASBO RECIPIENTS

Addicts barred from Camden LBC's worst-hit drug zones are due to be invited back to the borough to give evidence to a council investigation assessing the success of banning orders, reported the Camden New Journal (12/2/04, p13). More than 50 people have been the subject of anti-social behaviour orders following ongoing action by Camden LBC. Scrutiny panel chairwoman Pat Callaghan said: 'Residents and businesses in Camden have been at the mercy of people causing anti-social behaviour. They have very strong views on this type of behaviour and it is vital we hear what they feel should be done about it.'

COUNCIL BANS PERSISTENT COMPLAINER

Hugh Hickman has been banned from complaining directly to senior staff at Scottish Borders Council after he deluged them with more than 700 e-mails, telephone calls and letters, reports The Scotsman(p12). The decision to deny Hugh Hickman direct access to senior officers has been taken by chief executive David Hume, who sought the opinion of a QC before imposing the ban. Mr Hume told Mr Hickman in a letter that he must direct all e-mails intended for staff to the council's general inquiries address, otherwise messages will be disregarded. Copies of the arrangements have been passed to the council's external auditors, and to Audit Scotland and the Scottish public services ombudsman.

EDINBURGH LEARNS OF KEN-GESTION CHARGING PITFALLS

On the first anniversary of his congestion-busting scheme, London mayor Ken Livingstone took the opportunity to warn Edinburgh about the political pitfalls of these charges, reported a leading article in The Scotsman(17/2/04, p19). The leader agrees with Mr Livingstone that for such charges to succeed, they must be used as a way of regulating the motor car, rather than as a stealth tax. The paper concludes that Edinburgh City Council should, 'use any financial gains to improve off-street parking and Edinburgh's bus system. This would be relatively inexpensive and would provide instant improvements for all in the realm of public transport. Hitching congestion charging to a costly new tram system might be a step too far.'

THREE NATIONALIST COUNCILLORS FACE FIRST HEARING BY ETHICS WATCHDOG

Three Scottish National Party councillors from Renfrewshire are to be the subject of the first standards hearing by Scotland's new ethics watchdog, reported The Herald(p8). Jim Mitchell, David Mylet and Derek Mackay have been accused of unacceptable conduct after disruption forced a Renfrewshire Council meeting to be abandoned last year. After an initial investigation by its own staff, the Standards Commission for Scotland now intends to hold a formal hearing into the three on 10 March, which will be open to the public and is expected to be chaired by the commission's convener, Professor Lorne Crerar.

BRUM BOOZE BAN

Street wardens and a drinking ban are being introduced in Birmingham's entertainment district in a move to promote European-style 'cafe culture' in the city, reports The Birmingham Post(p1). Licensing officials yesterday approved turning the ci ty centre into an Alcohol Restricted Zone to stop drink-fuelled violence.

by assistant editor Neil Watson

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