Balls: Asbos not right

Every Asbos 'a failure'
Every Asbos 'a failure'

The era of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) must come to an end, children's secretary Ed Balls has said.

His comments highlight a level of hesitance among senior government figures over the prevalence of behaviour orders, which have become a mainstay of Labour's "respect" agenda.

Tony Blair attempted to address rowdiness, vandalism, drunkenness and hooliganism in his second term in office, claiming many towns around the country had become "no-go areas" after dark.

But Asbos have always been a controversial mechanism to tackle the problem. Hearsay and anonymous testimony are admissible as evidence and there is no burden of proof beyond the court's judgement that the application of the Asbo is necessary.

The issuing of the orders has become so widespread some commentators claim being given one has become "a badge of honour" in certain areas.

Mr Balls said every Asbo issued is "a failure", although he stressed the orders are still "necessary".

In an interview with the Daily Mirror he said hoped "to live in the kind of society that puts Asbos behind us".

He continued: "It's a failure every time a young person gets an Asbo. It's necessary - but it's not right.

"It is about kids having interesting things to do and it is about young people having respect for the society in which they live."

His comments come only a day after the government launched its new strategy for children.
Plans include a national "youth week" and "coming of age ceremonies".

Young people will also be given a voice in how local councils spend funds on youth centres and extra-curricular activities.


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