Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Modern Badge of Honour?

When out on the doorstep, our fellow Islingtonians frequently mention that anti-social behaviour remains a major issue in Islington. As I was coming home yesterday I flicked through London Lite. Stu from Islington had written in commenting on anti-social behaviour.

Stu stated: “I don’t think Asbos are in any way effective in reducing the crime rate – they are more like a badge of honour for the teenager who gets it. The government needs to get tougher on teenage tearaways. Merely giving them a rap on the knuckles and asking them nicely not to do it again is clearly not effective.”

In Islington the LibDem council is reticent to even make use of Asbos, instead relying on acceptable behaviour contracts. Speaking in the House of Commons in January on anti-social behaviour, Nick Herbert, Conservative MP for Arundel commented:

“nearly half of the young people whose case files were reviewed had been returned to court for failure to comply with their order…. It is the same story with acceptable behaviour contracts, which are broken by more than 60% of those under 18.”

“It is clear that ASBOs are an ineffective and inappropriate instrument to deal with hardened criminal behaviour, and that a minority of offenders should be dealt with in the courts and properly sentenced, so that victims can be assured that action has been taken. But the Government's approach is the opposite. It is increasingly to develop what they call summary justice, so that such cases are not dealt with in the courts. That summary justice is, increasingly, soft justice.”

In this instance, I think it is best to defer to Nick’s well researched argument that I believe deals with this issue very well. The Association website has also been running a poll on whether you think Islington Council has dealt with Anti-Social behaviour,at the moment 84% of our visitors dont believe it has been properly tackled.

If you want to read Nick Herbert's full speech, its online here.

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