Yobs turn town centres to 'no-go areas'

Town and city centres in England and Wales are becoming no-go areas after dark, because of drunken yobs behaving like "an occupying army", a committee of MPs has warned.

Edward Leigh, chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, said that anti-social behaviour ranged from "drunken skylarking" and "intimidation to out-and-out criminal activity".

The MPs' report criticised the Home Office, saying that it had failed to research which measures were most effective in tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour.

The Home Office and its Respect Taskforce were questioned by the committee about nearly 900 cases of anti-social behaviour interventions.

The report found that 93% of cases had given up anti-social behaviour following three brushes with the authorities, although a hardcore of persistent offenders continued.

The report also found that a fifth of the individuals were responsible for more than half of the interventions. Among this group, those with the convictions had an average of 50 each.

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said that the failure to tackle the problem was caused by Labour's approach to "get the headline and ignore the problem". He said: "They go on about the record number of Asbos given out whilst ignoring the fact that nearly two-thirds are breached."

Liberal Democrat children and families spokesperson Annette Brooke said: "The government has failed to assess the effectiveness of different types of anti-social behaviour interventions. We need greater use of Acceptable Behaviour contracts and most importantly, more supportive measures such as Individual Support Orders.

"In 2004-2005, only 1% of Asbos had an ISO attached. Recent research by the Youth Justice Board found a majority of sentencers were unaware of their existence.

"ASBOs cost up to £10,000 each, and yet 55% of those in receipt of them engage in further anti-social behaviour. They should always be supported by a package of measures to address the perpetrators behaviour. However, other measures such as ABCs must always be taken first."


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

05 March 2010
Anti-Social Diversion Project Praised
A project tackling antisocial behaviour in a popular Wigan park - which saw a 75% drop in calls to police - has been lauded by the Government. Operation Windburn ran in Mesnes Park last summer and was so successful that local authorities plan to repeat the project, which included coaching sessions by Wigan Athletic Football Club, this summer.
20 January 2004
Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour come into force
The "single biggest package" of measures to tackle anti-social behaviour comes into force today, the Home Office has confirmed. Home Secretary David Blunkett said that it would give people "new tools in their fight against neighbours from hell", intimidating groups on their streets and potentially lethal firearms.
02 June 2010
Minimum Alcohol Prices 'Inevitable'
The charity, Alcohol Concern has welcomed guidance released today by The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on preventing alcohol harms, in particular recommendations in support of minimum pricing and availability.
31 March 2004
Teen spray paint ban set to cut graffiti 'eyesores'
Under-16s will be banned from buying aerosol paint spray cans from today as part of a government crackdown on graffiti. New measures in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 coming into force today will permit local authorities to impose penalty notices of £50 for graffiti and fly-posting.
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.