Rights groups slam UK town's under-16 restrictions

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Associated Press

Posted on March 30, 2013 at 10:01 PM

Updated Sunday, Mar 31 at 2:04 AM

LONDON (AP) — A British police force is defending its plan to impose nighttime restrictions on youngsters, saying it does not amount to a curfew.

Civil liberties activists are condemning the move.

Officials in Barnsley, northern England, have given police the power to remove under-16s from the town center between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless they are accompanied by an adult.

The trial rules take effect this weekend and operate for six months.

South Yorkshire Police say the measure will be applied with "discretion" and only target youths engaged in misbehavior.

Rights group Liberty says the use of age as a basis for removal could face a court challenge. Emma Norton, a lawyer for the group, says "police should target offenders of whatever age, not show disrespect and distrust of a whole generation."

Nick Pickles of the group Big Brother Watch calls the measure "a waste of time and resources."

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