Asbos replaced by 'criminal behaviour orders'

What's in a word? Asbos become 'criminal behaviour orders'
What's in a word? Asbos become 'criminal behaviour orders'

By Ian Dunt

New Labour's controversial Asbo programme is being replaced by a 'criminal behaviour order', in a bid to clear up the legislation.

The use of the new legal measure is likely to be met with bemusement on the opposition benches, coming just weeks after the government replaced control order curfews with an 'overnight residence requirement'.

The use of the phrase to denote a strikingly similar requirement led to accusations that the coalition was using Orwellian language to hide its policies.

Comment: Can Orwell explain Asbos?

The new 'criminal behaviour orders' will allow police to confiscate property.

Possessions prized by young people, including electronic gadgets like iPods, will be specifically targeted.

"For too long antisocial behaviour has wreaked havoc in our communities and ruined decent people's lives," crime prevention minister James Brokenshire said.

"It is time for a new approach that better supports victims and makes it easier for the authorities to take fast, effective action."

The reforms, unveiled today, contain proposals to force police to investigate low-level crime. A 'community trigger' will officers to investigate anti-social behaviour where five or more people have complained about it.

The government is also promising a return to 'common-sense' policing, with a streamlined approach to the short-term resolution of problems.

People breaching the orders could be banned from town centres for up to two years, for instance.

The Asbo initiative quickly became the butt of jokes after it formed the foundation of Tony Blair's Respect agenda.

Young gangs saw the orders as a badge of honour while concern about the levels of youth crime continued to rise.

Meanwhile, civil liberties advocates argued that the Asbos brought rumour and hearsay evidence into the legal system while contributing to the stigmatisation of young people.


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