Asked for further statistical information about Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), the Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) said that more than 2,400 ASBOs had been issued since being introduced in 1999, with 1,323 taken out in the year to March 2004. The use of ASBOs had therefore increased by 50% in the last year. It was clear that the powers were starting to take grip and were being used more widely up and down the country. However, the purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit to Harlow today was to encourage their use more widely. The PMOS pointed out that 422 ASBOs had been issued in Greater Manchester since 1999 – up 232% since 31 March 2003. 59 ASBOs had been issued in Liverpool – up 139%. 122 ASBOs had been issued in Leeds – up 430%. 48 ASBOs had been issued in the London Borough of Camden – up 182%. These figures showed that local councils, local authorities and the police were beginning to see how effective the powers actually were and were starting to use them more widely.
Asked how the ASBOs were being used, the PMOS pointed to the use of Fixed Penalty Notices. He also noted that Harlow had been the first council to use dispersal orders to break up gatherings of people. The powers were clearly beginning to bite. Asked if there was a sense of frustration that some councils, such as Lambeth and Hackney, were not using the powers that were available to help combat anti-social behaviour, the PMOS said that part of the problem was the fact that some local authorities remained to be convinced of the effectiveness of the powers. The purpose of the Prime Minister’s visit to Harlow today was to highlight their value as a tool to tackle anti-social behaviour. It was also why a team of ‘ambassadors’ and experts had been appointed to show councils what could be done. In some areas, pressure from the local community had led to the powers being used. That could only spread. Asked whose job it was to issue ASBOs, the PMOS said that they were issued by the local authorities. The areas covered included environmental crime, nuisance neighbours and supporting witnesses.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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