Tuesday, April 21, 2009

ASBOs - New Labour Nonsense No. 2

There are three striking features about Anti Social Behavior Orders (ASBOs). First, ASBOS are rare things. In 2006, there were only 2,600 new orders. In a population of almost 60 million, and rampant levels of appalling social behaviour, it would be extremely hard to meet anyone who has one. Perhaps it is the company I keep, but I've never met anyone with an ASBO.

Second, as the chart shows, ASBOs are on the decline. This is classic new Labour nonsense. ASBOs did a wonderful job in capturing newspaper headlines. In terms of crime reduction, they were irrelevant.

Finally, ASBOs were extraordinary for their capacity to be misused. Wikipedia provides an interesting list of bizarre and largely unjustified restrictions imposed by this poorly conceived new Labour initiative. The list includes:

  • Two teenage boys from east Manchester were forbidden to wear one golf glove.
  • A 17-year-old was forbidden to use the word "grass" as a term of abuse in order to threaten people.
  • A 15-year-old was forbidden to play football in his street.
  • An 18-year-old male was banned from congregating with more than three youths, and subsequently arrested when he entered a very popular youth club.
  • The first farmer to be given an ASBO was instructed to keep his geese and pigs from damaging his neighbour's property.
  • The oldest recipient of an ASBO is an 87-year-old man who was abusive to his neighbours.
  • The youngest recipient of an ASBO is a two-year-old boy accused of kicking a football at windows over a fence 7 feet (2.1 m) high and verbally abusing residents when asked to stop.

    1. Everything Nu Lab does is nonsense.

      I can't think of one good thing that they've done. Not one.

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