Page 1 of 3 [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

ed
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Age: 76
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,788
Location: Whitinsville, MA

03 Apr 2005, 7:44 am

I found the following article from Great Britain:

Out-of-control Asbos a 'menace to society'

By Robert Verkaik, Legal Affairs Correspondent
02 April 2005

The Government's flagship criminal justice measure, the anti-social behaviour order (Asbo), is being widely misused by police and local authorities, MPs have been warned.

Since they were launched in April 1999, the number of Asbos granted by magistrates' courts has risen dramatically and now totals 4,000, many of them against children.

Civil liberties groups have raised concerns that authorities are increasingly relying on the powers of the orders as a short-cut to imposing criminal punishments. The warning forms part of a report by the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee's investigation into anti-social behaviour in Britain, which will be published on Tuesday.

An Asbo is granted as a civil power but a breach of the order is treated as an offence punishable by up to five years in prison. Of nearly 1,300 Asbo applications from local authorities in England and Wales between 2000 and 2004, only 13 were refused by the courts.

In some cases Asbos are being used to tackle long-standing social problems, such as begging and prostitution by turning offenders into criminals.

The wide terms of the legislation mean that a magistrate can grant an Asbo by being satisfied only on a balance of probabilities that the accused's behaviour is "likely to cause alarm, harassment or distress".

As a result, children risk being sent to detention centres for swearing or spitting in the street. In one case a child suffering from Tourette syndrome was banned from swearing in public.

Groups such as the British Institute for Brain Injured Children (Bibic), a national charity working with young people with behavioural difficulties, warn that the Government's targeting of "families from hell" could lead to the demonising of children with Asperger's syndrome or other problems.


In the first year of the Asbo only a few dozen applications were made to the courts. Since then, Labour has introduced new laws to strengthen their use while giving councils and police more money to fund applications. In many cases, an Asbo against a child is now accompanied by a naming and shaming order.

The human rights group Liberty warns that this not only targets the individual but also their brothers and sisters. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, says that such a measure can destroy the lives of innocent and often vulnerable children.

The Children's Society, said yesterday that it was "very concerned about the government policy to 'name and shame' children who receive Asbos".

Liz Lovell, a policy adviser at the Society, said: "The policy is not only counter-productive, it puts children and young people at risk. We are also opposed to the proposed extension of this policy in the Serious Organised Crime & Police Bill. Another concern is that, although an Asbo is a civil order, breaching it is a criminal offence, the penalty for which can be imprisonment. Asbos were not designed with children in mind."

In six years since the first Asbos were granted, evidence is emerging that they no longer have a deterrent impact on anti-social behaviour. Liberty has told MPs that such an "indiscriminate and excessive" use of the legislation is "undermining any benefit they might bring". A Liberty spokesman said: "We are aware of anecdotal evidence of Asbos being treated as a badge of honour. If this is so then what must be the principle purpose of Asbos, deterrence from anti-social behaviour, is undermined. "Displacement of aggressive youths from one estate to a neighbouring one does not address the cause of their behaviour."

The Home Affairs Committee report will also consider the impact of police powers to impose curfews on children under the age of 16 and dispersal orders for groups of teenagers congregating in the street.

In its evidence to the committee, Liberty says: "While people might find the presence of a group of young men with hoods covering their faces intimidating, it does not always justify the police taking action. These powers are the consequence of the Government's blank-cheque policy on policing."

Social-welfare charities are also concerned about the widespread imposition of Asbos. Research carried out by the National Consortium for Sheltered Housing (Erosh) for possession or eviction in sheltered housing during the first quarter of 2004 found that, for the first time, anti-social behaviour was cited as a cause for more actions than rent arrears.

Erosh is concerned about incidents of early onset of dementia, paranoia, depression, or manic conditions, for example, which can lead to behaviour that many consider "anti-social" but are in reality evidence of health breakdowns.

WHAT'S BANNED IN ASBO BRITAIN?

ANSWERING THE DOOR IN UNDERWEAR
Caroline Shepherd, 27, was given an Asbo after neighbours complained about her wearing skimpy underwear when answering her door or using the garden. The Asbo also banned her from making noise, shouting and swearing, holding drunken parties, abusing neighbours and letting her friends use her garden as a lavatory. Before the ban was imposed, Ms Shepherd, of East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, said she had been wearing a new bikini for gardening. On Wednesday, Hamilton Sheriff's court was told Ms Shepherd had pleaded not guilty to two charges of breaching her Asbo.

SUICIDE ATTEMPTS
Kim Sutton, 23, has tried to kill herself four times by jumping off bridges. Ms Sutton, who suffers from a personality disorder, first attempted suicide in August last year when she was seen in the river Avon at Bath, Somerset. Three months later she was rescued from the same river twice in two hours. After being convicted of three public order offences by Bath magistrates, she was given a 12-month conditional discharge and a five-point Asbo for two years. It bans her from going into rivers, canals or open water, loitering on bridges, going on to railway lines, entering multi-storey car parks unaccompanied, or acting in a way that causes harassment or alarm.

NAUGHTY PIGS
Brian Hagan, 62, has a pig farm in Briston, Norfolk. Last year he was given an Asbo after his animals repeatedly damaged crops in neighbouring fields. His lawyer argued that it was the wrong intervention to use. The human rights group Liberty said this use of an Asbo could set a dangerous precedent. The case was dropped in January.


The danger of this policy is great for aspies. I thus hereby order a "name and shame" order against the British government!



ljbouchard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,278
Location: Rochester Minnesota

03 Apr 2005, 8:32 am

What this sounds like here is an attempt to circumvent the law itself. By getting an ASBO, an entity can perform an act against the person with an ASBO that would otherwise be illegal to perform.

This sounds like another one of those idea that may be good in theory but in practice it is horrible. :roll:


_________________
Louis J Bouchard
Rochester Minnesota

"Only when all those who surround you are different, do you truly belong."
---------------------------------------------------
Fred Tate Little Man Tate


MelissaEM
Tufted Titmouse
Tufted Titmouse

User avatar

Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Gender: Female
Posts: 29
Location: Queens, New York

03 Apr 2005, 10:22 am

One word: ridiculous. :roll:



queerpuppy
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 224
Location: S.E. London

03 Apr 2005, 11:33 am

Whilst I normally can't stand things like this, ASBOs used correctly have the potential to help a hell of a lot of people.

On the estate where I live there a number of people who probably should have ASBOs slapped on them. They are between 13-25, male, loiter around in gangs, graffiti, litter, fight thier dogs, ride scooters, up and down the pavements, harass people (call my boyfriend and I names when we go out), steal, take drugs on the street, play really loud music that everyone can hear etc. They are horrible.They are behaving in an anti social way, however, minus the scooters on teh pavement and the drugs, they are breaking no laws. But they do distress a lot of the residents of this estate.

Whilst it is very difficult to define anti social behaviour, it is important to protect people's right to a peaceful life, as long as it harms no one else.

Yes, there have been cases of ASBOs being misused against people who really don't deserve them, but there have been many more cases of them being useful. They just need to be monitored very carefully, to make sure they aren't abused.



duncvis
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,642
Location: The valleys of green and grey

03 Apr 2005, 3:07 pm

I agree queerpuppy. ASBOs in my area have cut down a lot of bad behaviour from the chav scum who infest my neighbourhood. What is at issue is the misapplication of such orders to cover those who were not the target of this legislation. That is worrying indeed. :evil:

Dunc


_________________
I'm usually smarter than this.

www.last.fm/user/nursethescreams <<my last.fm thingy

FOR THE HORDE!


vetivert
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Sep 2004
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,769

04 Apr 2005, 1:35 am

yep, to both queerpuppy and dunc. of course the abuse of such powers is a worry, but then it is with any form of power. and i have actually had to move because of anti-social neighbours, before now - it was appalling.

better to ASBO them then shoot them, surely? (although i suppose shooting's cheaper...)



ed
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 19 Dec 2004
Age: 76
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,788
Location: Whitinsville, MA

04 Apr 2005, 4:25 am

Ask not for whom the bells toll; they toll for you.



duncvis
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 10 Sep 2004
Age: 45
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,642
Location: The valleys of green and grey

04 Apr 2005, 5:10 am

ed wrote:
Ask not for whom the bells toll; they toll for you.
:?: That's a bit cryptic for me ed... :?


_________________
I'm usually smarter than this.

www.last.fm/user/nursethescreams <<my last.fm thingy

FOR THE HORDE!


ljbouchard
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 4 Mar 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,278
Location: Rochester Minnesota

04 Apr 2005, 5:18 am

Dunc:

I means do not ask who they are going after, they are going after you.

If that is too cryptic, I do not know how to simplify it further.


_________________
Louis J Bouchard
Rochester Minnesota

"Only when all those who surround you are different, do you truly belong."
---------------------------------------------------
Fred Tate Little Man Tate


queerpuppy
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 224
Location: S.E. London

04 Apr 2005, 5:34 am

They aren't targeting aspies. They are targeting people who are making other people's lives hell.



Noetic
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2005
Age: 42
Gender: Female
Posts: 1,277
Location: UK

04 Apr 2005, 5:51 am

queerpuppy wrote:
They aren't targeting aspies. They are targeting people who are making other people's lives hell.

Yep.

If an Aspie behaves in this way, they have to live with the consequences just like everyone else. Having AS isn't a ticket for behaving antisocially and agetting away with it!



vetivert
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Sep 2004
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,769

04 Apr 2005, 10:11 am

absolutely.



queerpuppy
Sea Gull
Sea Gull

User avatar

Joined: 12 Feb 2005
Age: 39
Gender: Male
Posts: 224
Location: S.E. London

04 Apr 2005, 10:23 am

Something I find interesting about this thread is that it was created by someone living in the USA, and all of the comments about ASBO's being bad have thus far been from people in the States.

From this I assume the only info about ASBOs that has gone out in the States has been either sensationalist or negative, rather than having quite a lot of info about them in the UK.

I mean, we have stuff coming out on TV news, the paper, the BBC website, local papers etc. We hear of the family that terrorised a neighbourhood finally being removed from the Council Housing list + being kicked off an estate. We hear about kids that loiter in huge gangs intimidating people at shopping centers. But that stuff just isn't interesting if it isn't your everday life, so why would that be newsworthy in another country.



vetivert
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 17 Sep 2004
Gender: Female
Posts: 5,769

04 Apr 2005, 10:29 am

d'you know, i was just thinking the exact same thing, dear chap. great minds, eh?

anyway, it probably sounds horrific to anyone in the states, as they don't have ASBOs. they don't need them, 'cos they've got guns instead...

(i may well regret saying that, eventually, but i'm laughing like a mad thing right now... waits for deluge of posts re: guns...)



axelkat
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 24 Feb 2005
Gender: Male
Posts: 760
Location: the desert

04 Apr 2005, 12:15 pm

aspergers is 'social delay' rather then anti-social meaning that we can socialize normally if we so wish to.
A


_________________
Uncle Joe loves labor


Morlock
Deinonychus
Deinonychus

User avatar

Joined: 28 Mar 2005
Age: 32
Gender: Male
Posts: 372
Location: Albany, OR

04 Apr 2005, 12:27 pm

all I can say about this is that I'm proud to be an American.