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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 13:09 GMT
Mixed reaction to Asbo research
Teenagers
Do Asbos control unruly teenagers?
Doubts have been raised about the effectiveness of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos), which were introduced in 1999.

According to a government-commissioned study, they have become a "badge of honour" among young people.

The year-long study in England and Wales for the Youth Justice Board said more than half the Asbos they looked at had been broken.

The research by the Policy Research Bureau and crime reduction charity Nacro has prompted a range of responses.

COMMUNITY WORKER - LESLEY PULLMAN

It is bravado [when they say an Asbo is a badge of honour]. It's not true. They hate Asbos because they cramp their style.

Every Asbo secured is a success for that community. I've seen them change lives. I've seen young people given Asbos go up at a later date and apologise to their victims.

(Ms Pullman secured four Asbos in her neighbourhood of New Moston, Manchester)

NACRO - PAUL CAVADINO

First of all you need to work with young people to change their attitudes. Secondly you need to divert them into constructive activity to use their leisure time properly.

Thirdly you need the kind of work that's dealing with problems like solvent abuse and which is also building up the possibility of parents exercising better control.

So it needs work with parents. Often they're at their wits' end, and their parenting might be inadequate, but it's not that they don't want their children to stop misbehaving.

THE CHILDREN'S SOCIETY - KATHY EVANS

High breach rates, and a widespread view that Asbos are becoming a "badge of honour", show that as many as half of all Asbos do not help to reduce crime.

We need to support children to learn how to change their behaviour, not just give them orders telling them what they can't do.

The Children's Society is particularly concerned at the finding that more than one in five young Asbo recipients are from black and minority ethnic communities.

In our Just Justice research earlier this year we raised concerns about the potential for Asbos to be unfairly used as a response for some black young people, and this report only reinforces those concerns.

YOUTH JUSTICE BOARD - ROD MORGAN

What is at the centre of this report is the fact that whereas we're all agreed that there should be effective involvement and consultation with youth offending teams before an application for an Asbo is made, that isn't always the case or it hasn't always been the case.

But where that is in place they work much more effectively.

SHADOW HOME OFFICE - DAVID DAVIS

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.

LIB DEM HOME AFFAIRS - NICK CLEGG

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.

SAVE THE CHILDREN - COLETTE MARSHALL

If we want these children to change their behaviour we must work with them to tackle the causes of their behaviour, not just hand out an Asbo which criminalises and names and shames.

Until then Asbos will not act as an effective solution to the problem.

HOME OFFICE MINISTER - TONY MCNULTY

If they are using it as a badge of honour, if they breach the conditions of their Asbo then they have the potential at least to go into custody and hopefully that will wipe the smile of their face.

But Asbos are part of a whole series of tools that includes parenting orders and acceptable behaviour contracts.

It's about all these measures and how they can help communities because very often the focus is just on the poor little individuals who are abusing the rest of their communities by indulging in anti-social behaviour.

Some young people do learn their lesson and play a more productive role and are responsible. We are not talking about demonising a generation, as some would have it.




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