Asbos seen as 'badges of honour'

Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) are becoming regarded as 'badges of honour' by many teenagers, according to a survey.

The Youth Justice Board said that overuse of the orders was leading to doubts about their effectiveness as well as making teenagers regard them as glamourous.

The year-long survey studied the number of Asbos given to young people in 10 unnamed areas of England and Wales between January 2004 and January 2005.

It found that, of 137 people, 67 had breached their order at least once.

The YJB said that many young people did not understand the restrictions placed on them, which increased the likelihood of orders being breached.

YJB Chairman Professor Rod Morgan said: "The YJB is not against Anti-Social Behaviour Orders. They can - and do - work incredibly well. But for Asbos to successfully reduce the likelihood of future anti-social behaviour, they need to be used correctly. That means exhausting every preventative measure in the community first, and ensuring that youth offending teams are not excluded from the Asbo process. Without YOT involvement, youngsters and their parents lack the support, advice and knowledge they need to ensure that they comply with their Asbos.

"The public must be protected from neighbourhood nuisance. But for that to happen, Asbos must be used correctly. Our guidance has already had a major impact on the way Asbos are used, but we are concern that it is not used as widely as it should be. We are calling on the sentencers and the police to make sure that Asbos are always used as a last resort."

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said that the report highlighted the government's "total failure to tackle crime". He said: "The Asbo system was set up as a headline-catching gimmick. The latest findings show that young offenders have no respect for Asbos and can breach them without any real threat of serious sanction."

Liberal Democrats home affairs spokesperson Nick Clegg said: "This report makes it clear that Tony Blair's twin-track approach of demonising young people and carpeting the country with Asbos has reached its limit.

"Asbos cannot be effective if they are merely seen as a badge of honour.

"All the available evidence shows we need to engage, not shut out, young people who behave badly if we want to prevent them from becoming the hardened criminals of the future."


Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

21 August 2015
Teenager Jailed For Abduction And Grooming Of Children
An 18-year-old man has been jailed on charges of abduction and grooming. Josh Bennett, of Underwood, Rochdale, was found to have used Facebook to pester underage children for sex - and allowed his flat to be used as a refuge for missing children.
18 January 2012
Police To Rethink Trident
The Metropolitan Police have revealed it is developing a new strategy to tackle gang-related crime and serious youth violence in London.
17 August 2011
'Disaffected Youth' Win Lottery Boost
Ulster projects to improve the prospects of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) have been awarded major grants from the Big Lottery Fund today.
22 May 2012
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders To Be Scrapped
Controversial ASBOs are to be scrapped in an overhaul of the legal system used for tackling anti-social behaviour.
31 August 2004
ASBOs putting yobs on notice, says Blair
The increasing use of anti-yob powers are putting louts "on notice" that the government means to tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour, the Prime Minister has said.