Page last updated at 18:07 GMT, Thursday, 19 March 2009

Asbos to be used 'more sparingly'

Ministers want a balanced approach to dealing with crime

Anti-social behaviour orders will be used more sparingly in Scotland, ministers have said.

The move came as part of a drive to give a higher priority to preventing anti-social behaviour.

The government is also considering requiring councils and social landlords who apply for Asbos to ensure offenders are also given enough support.

Community Safety Minister Fergus Ewing said too many communities were still "blighted" by anti-social behaviour.

He said the Scottish Government's new approach aimed to promote good behaviour, deal with bad behaviour effectively and help agencies work better together.

'More balanced'

"It is not about abandoning what went before, but about being smarter in how we tackle the problem," the minister said.

"We should be focusing on tackling the symptoms of the problem and working together better to achieve shared outcomes."

The new approach, drawn up by the government and council umbrella group Cosla, would see enforcement measures, like Asbos, used as part of a "much more balanced approach".

The strategy also aims to tackle the causes of anti-social behaviour, such as drink, drugs and deprivation, while creating more opportunities for youngsters.

The Liberal Democrats welcomed a move away from "short-term fixes" and called for an approach which tackled the root causes of crime.

But Labour branded the approach an "abandonment of responsibility", while the Conservatives said the public needed better protection from troublemakers.

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