[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 30 October, 2004, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Do anti-social behaviour orders work?
The government has named fifty new areas in England and Wales which will get special help to fight anti-social behaviour.

Under the new plans, parish and town councils will be able to fine people causing nuisance noise, graffiti or litter.

ASK LIBERTY
Shami Chakrabarti, director of pressure group Liberty answered your questions in a live interactive forum

Prime Minister Tony Blair told a conference: "For too long the selfish minority have had it all their own way. That's changing."

Do you agree with the government's proposals? Have Asbos made a difference? What should be done to remedy anti-social behaviour? Send us your comments and experiences using the form.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Paul McDermott, England:
Is the Asbo legislation an effective way of combating anti-social behaviour?

What we really need are boot camps run America's Toughest Sheriff's way (see Jail Blog, BBC Magazine). But "civil libertarians" who are indifferent to victims' rights, would scream on behalf of culprits' rights. So we are left with ASBOs, with all their limitations.
Michael, London UK

The anti-social behaviour that is so prevalent in UK stems from the fact that these youth and others feel disenfranchised. The class system, under which you have laboured for so long, is no longer tolerated by those at the bottom end of the scale. A revolution is taking place where the disempowered are no longer accepting their "place" in a society that they rightly consider unfair.
Virginia Waldron, Australia

It's quite easy to fix. All these kids need to be electronically tagged.
Brad, UK

The problem is the benefits system that rewards people for doing nothing
Jonny, England
Why do so many whine about poverty, boredom and deprivation? My grandmother grew up in the slums of the North East, living in poverty practically unheard of in this country nowadays yet kids didn't go round smashing things up and causing trouble. If anything the problem is the benefits system that rewards people for doing nothing while making it harder (and often economically unviable) to take low-paying jobs. How can someone gain self-respect when they don't have a job and probably never will have, and can't earn the cash to enjoy themselves a little?
Jonny, England

Tony Blair has just been on my television telling me that if we rely on traditional policing, traditional law etc, then we cannot expect to put a stop to anti-social behaviour. Hmmm. Where I live, we don't have any of those traditional things. They have been eroded. We have one bobby here twice a week for one hour. That's not traditional. In four years, I have only seen two policemen. One in a backroom at the local garage when the world cup was on television, and one a patrol policeman using a cash point machine. Meanwhile, in the park in front of my house, drunken teenagers smash up street lighting, only two weeks ago set fire to the primary school on the other side. Blair, wake up. put money back into our country instead of blowing it killing 100,000+ people in other people's wars.
Gareth Crawshaw, Olney, UK

Giving local councils the power to administer justice is a thoroughly bad thing. There is the real danger of individuals freedoms being restricted for political means. Enforcement of the law in this area should be left with the police.
Mark, Stafford UK

Discipline should also start at a young age and be maintained
F Carr, England
It's all down to bad parenting and always has been! It starts at home. The parents should also stop their children mixing with the wrong sort, as well as good discipline at home. Also, children do need two parents, not one. One parent is not strong enough if behaviour etc, is to be corrected. Discipline should also start at a young age and be maintained.
F Carr, England

As a local Parish Councillor I have spent more than six months trying to get an Asbo placed on a youth who intimidated a vulnerable adult out of their home and has also been responsible for many incidents of anti-social behaviour in a small village. I've had no success in doing this and even the local Council officials admit that there is a lot of spin around Asbos and that they are a lot more difficult to obtain that politicians would have you believe. Our Parish Council has one part time employee and an annual budget of under 50K a year. If Kirklees struggle to get these issued, what chance does the Parish Council stand? Sounds like more spin from Phoney Tony, who's trying to distract people from Iraq.
John Taylor, Huddersfield, UK

Discipline needs to be brought back from an early age. Also, we would see less anti-social behaviour if there was punishment for wrong-doings plus some form of public humiliation.
Ann, England

The programme Bad Lads Army is fascinating. It took a group of lads who were off the rails and for the majority, it sorted them out. Many now have prospects where before they did not. By providing those with a framework where they could learn to respect themselves and others. That works, sadly government gimmicks do not!
Chris Parker, Buckingham

Asbos are a recognition that there's a problem, and that's good in my opinion
Rob Bennett, Cheshire

Asbos are a recognition that there's a problem, and that's good in my opinion. Now I think they need to be followed up with very stringent penalties for anti-social behaviour and much more visible policing.
Rob Bennett, Nantwich, Cheshire

In the early seventies I lived on a very large and rough council estate called Broxtowe in Nottingham, where anti-social behaviour was kept in check by community bobbies on the beat where they earned respect and interacted with the community. Without them the kids would have run riot as they do today. Let's get bobbies out of their flash police cars, leave the speed cameras at the station and get community policing back where it belongs on the streets.
Ian Geson, UK

So far, all Asbos manage to do is remove people's right to hang around in groups. Rather than trying to fix the problem, what about addressing its causes such as lack of facilities, lack of support etc... for young people? In our area, nothing is available for the young people to do.
Tony, England

Until it is made safer for people to report these people to the police when they do cause trouble, nothing will change. The same thing applies to benefit fraud. We all know someone who is committing benefit fraud, but it's still socially unacceptable and in most areas too dangerous to do anything about it.
Jennifer, Netherlands, ex UK

Banning this youth from the estate has brought order and peace of mind for most of the residents
Enforcement Officer, Liverpool
When you are at the magistrate's court with an application for an Asbo against a sixteen year old male who has terrorised a whole estate, seen adult witnesses wracked with nerves, fear and intimidation waiting for the case to be heard by the district judge, you understand just how one person's behaviour can affect so many lives. Banning this youth from the estate has brought order and peace of mind for most of the residents. Should it have got this far? No, I do agree with other people who have commented stating that the parents should accept responsibility for the education and conduct of their children's behaviour.
Enforcement Officer, Liverpool, UK

Too little and too late! Over the years, we have become more and more soft and allowed do-gooders to make excuses for the yobs. Too much has been said about deprivation and children's rights etc. What about the rights of the majority of the people who want to live in peace? The parents, and their parents before them, should have been held more responsible for ensuring that they were brought up to have respect for people and property. Too much emphasis is put on the material things in life and not enough on the important things. Parents are far too busy trying to accumulate more wealth and possessions and don't appear to have much time for their children's proper values.
Guthrie, Scotland

In the interests of accuracy, it should be noted that more young people are victims of crime than perpetrators. Of course this majority are less newsworthy!
Criminologist, UK

Why don't they police known hotspots? If I go out at the weekend, trouble always starts in the same place at roughly the same time. Put a couple of police there and it would stop. If only I were king...
Graeme, UK

'Discipline by the parents' would work if the parents themselves weren't part of the yob problem. It's not the intelligent professionals that are having kids at the age of 16, but those who are in no way ready for it and probably never will be. Whoever said 'treat the cause, not the effects' was on to something.
Andy, Italy

It is important that problems are recognised at a very early stage. Schools, social services and health practitioners have a great insight into who will cause problems when they get older. These individuals and their parents need to be targeted, given education and support with sanctions to stop the young becoming more difficult to contain. Sounds boring and unfashionable but a stable family life with guidelines and parameters applied must surely in the long run be the answer.
John Barber, UK

It's the duty of parents to teach their children basic standards of behaviour
Rob, UK
Why do some young people exhibit yob behaviour and not others? Parenting, social background, deprivation. I doubt there is a single answer but I believe that at the crux of this problem is respect or lack thereof and responsibility. It's the duty of parents to teach their children basic standards of behaviour and it's the job of the community as a whole to ensure this happens. At the moment as a society we don't do this and as such we are failing our young people, so it's not surprising some of them go off the rails.
Rob, UK

The main reason the youth of today get away with so much - there is nothing to be afraid of. The schools and courts are tied, the police may do their bit but the level of political correctness and current law means no attitude changing punishment can be given.
Mike, Yorkshire, UK

The Government created a nanny state in the name of civil liberties
Deep, UK
The root of this problem lies in our culture and the system. The Government created a nanny state in the name of civil liberties and our drinking, hoodlum culture turns our kids into brats. No law or order can stop that unless we as parents take some serious action.
Deep, UK

Bring back national service to teach some discipline to the young thugs. That should sort them out!
Caroline, UK

Caroline, UK- I presume that's sarcasm? Firstly "national service" isn't going to stop 10 year olds stealing cars. We don't want child soldiers. Secondly the army doesn't want the sort of useless yobs who get served Asbos. They don't follow orders, are totally undisciplined and unpredictable. The last thing you want to give a violent delinquent is a rifle!
Peter, Nottingham (U.K)

Discipline is what is needed, but a whole generation grew up spurning it and now refuse to enforce it on their children. The results are as expected, and should surprise no-one. Everyone has an excuse and someone else to blame it on.
Chris, UK

I think more community service punishments are a good thing for thugs. I spent my summer vacation temping for the local council, and after spending ages cleaning graffiti, I certainly no longer thought it looked cool. I also agree that what many of these yobs are lacking is some firm discipline from their parents.
Luke, UK

On the whole Asbos could be very effective
Jim, Birmingham, England
An idea could be to extend Asbos so that in the case of younger offenders the parents of these little hooligans are equally liable for any breach of Asbo. This may motivate them to behave like parents instead of discarding their children after losing interest. On the whole Asbos could be very effective, if used to pull the problem out by the root rather than just clipping the leaves.
Jim, Birmingham, England

Most of the trouble is caused by the concept of rights existing without the concept of responsibilities being attached to them. Modern kids think they have the right to do as they please, without any responsibility for their actions. Link rights to responsibilities with only a low set of basic inalienable rights not so linked, and the problem is solved; behave responsibly and you're essentially free. Behave irresponsibly and the State will have the right to interfere as it sees fit.
Dan H, UK

What is required is some good old-fashioned discipline, to make thugs accountable for their actions. For example, if they break a window, they pay for its repair.
Andy Bird, Cheshire, UK

The blame for these yobs must lie with there parents. Once these children leave the house it seems parents forget that they are responsible for them.
Anthony, Warrington

Many people feel uneasy when they see a group of teenagers hanging around making a noise
John B, UK
The trouble is that an Asbo is little more than a badge of honour among yobs. Many of them do little more than re-state existing laws (like the Asbo that prohibited a 15-year-old from buying alcohol). There are two key problems with the Asbo - firstly that it amounts to little more than a slap on the wrists and an order from the court not to do it again, and the second boils down to a definition of "anti-social". Many people feel uneasy when they see a group of teenagers hanging around making a noise, but most of us probably did much the same when we were teenagers. The fact they are cheering about something, or wrestling with each other in the park (or whatever), doesn't mean they are up to anything sinister.
John B, UK

Asbos may have made a difference in major public places, but they just don't work in residential areas where gangs of teens gather and cause damage to property and distress to residents. Such areas are not policed and if they are called they do not arrive. Even if you take it upon yourself to confront the parents of these youngsters, they deny their kids are involved or use the excuse "well they're young aren't they?" It's all well and good the government making such proposals but without everyone's support and the police back up they just will not work.
Sarah, Chester, UK

Far, far too late. We've let at least two generations grow up without any discipline whatsoever. We've let our police force become a police service and tied their hands when dealing with yobs. It will take years, and a great deal of political will, to undo this. But Asbos are a start, at least.
Edward, UK

To a certain extent yes they do. They remove the problem from the area. It only serves, however, to move the problem elsewhere. Perhaps it's time we started to tackle upbringing and see that children are taught correct social behaviour, instead of being allowed to attack teachers and disrupt life in general with no fear of reprisal. Tackle the root of the problem, not the end of it.
Dan A, Manchester, UK




RELATED INTERNET LINKS:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific