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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 December 2005, 15:15 GMT
Asbo powers target 'enviro-crime'
Graffiti will be on the Environment Agency's hit-list
The Environment Agency is to be allowed to apply for anti-social behaviour orders, as new figures show a rise in the number issued in England and Wales.

Between April and June 2005, police and local authorities issued 918 Asbos, a 48% rise from the same quarter in 2004.

Ministers have given the agency the right to apply for Asbos to tackle what they term "enviro-crime" - graffiti, fly-tipping and vandalism.

Shadow home secretary David Davis said government crackdowns were not working.


Announcing the figures and the new measures, Home Office Minister Hazel Blears said Asbos were now a "well-established" tool in the battle against "persistent yobbish behaviour".

She said extending the powers would lead to "faster action against the perpetrators of the menace and significant improvements in the quality of the local environment".

Labour have pushed through round-the-clock drinking, which will only increase alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour
David Davis
Shadow home secretary

The Environment Agency's chief executive, Barbara Young, said Asbos would provide "a vital back-up to prosecution".

"It means the agency can do its job better - by stopping environmentally damaging anti-social behaviour in the first place."

But Mr Davis disagreed, accusing the government of being "long on words but short on effective action".

He said: "Mr Blair's 'respect agenda' isn't working. The government is failing to tackle yob behaviour, and we know that almost half of the Asbos are being breached.

"Meanwhile, Labour have pushed through their controversial plans for round-the-clock drinking which will only increase alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour."

Rate of increase

The total number of Asbos issued between April 1999 and June 2005 was 6,497.

The number issued between April and June 2005 represented 14% of the total number of all Asbos issued.

Although the 918 issued between April and June was a 48% increase on the same quarter in the previous year, it was just a one per cent increase on the number issued in January to March 2005.

The Home Office argued the rate of increase was slowing down.

Of the 918 orders to be issued, 43% went to juveniles and 54% to adults, with the remaining 3% going to unknown recipients.

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