Contract binds blind man to behave

But Derek Chivers regrets signing it.

“If you are disabled, keep your trap shut.” That is the view of a registered blind man from Honiton, who has been made the subject of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract.

Derek Chivers, 57, of Langford Avenue, signed the contract at Honiton Police Station, in the presence of the district’s community safety officer, Gerry Moore, on July 27.

The contract was drawn up as part of a restorative justice measure, agreed with the police, following complaints about Mr Chivers’ behaviour during an on-going row about parking outside his home.

Mr Moore says the matter has nothing whatsoever to do with a person’s disability, but about “behaviour towards others”.

The contract, he said, helped Mr Chivers avoid court proceedings.

But Mr Chivers says he now regrets entering into the agreement, which requires him not to act in a manner that causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of his household,

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The document he signed stated: “I will not, by any of my actions or words, such as shouting, swearing, being abusive or threatening or causing any excessive noise etc, cause any harassment, alarm or distress to any persons in the Honiton area.”

After a period of reflection, Mr Chivers said: “I wish I hadn’t signed it.

“A disabled person seems to get penalised every time in East Devon.

“It’s all one-sided.

“The contract lasts for six months.

“It is the same old story - if you are disabled, keep your trap shut.”

Mr Moore told the Midweek Herald: “While I would not usually comment on specific cases, I feel I must on this occasion.

“This has nothing whatsoever to do with a person’s disability but about behaviour towards others.

“An Acceptable Behaviour Contract, or ABC, is a voluntary agreement entered into by the individual concerned.

“It contains certain conditions which are designed to deal with that person’s behaviour towards other people.

“The conditions are not difficult to comply with and all we ask is that the individual behaves in a manner that is expected of any citizen.

“It is used as a positive intervention rather than agencies having to consider court proceedings or the police having to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for disorder”

Mr Moore added: “An ABC is designed to make people both think about and take responsibility for their actions so that the problems do not escalate.

“ABCs have been used for a number of years and are regarded as being a successful tool in tackling anti-social behaviour.”