ASBO is dead, long live the CRIMBO. Yes, ASBO’s are going. Many critics have said that they’ve gone out of fashion, or that they’re seen as a badge of honour. However, in some areas like Bolton they did work.
Critics who pan the ASBO as ineffective are generalising. Bolton, being selective in its approach – by not serving them on anyone who may be playing football or begging in the street – meant that they were effective. No one wants a young person to get a criminal record simply for playing football in the street!
ASBOs failed in some areas and succeeded in others.
The new tools for serving tackling ASB will reduce the from the current 19 to just six – this sounds like a good thing, but the devil is in the detail… We shall see.
The Criminal Behaviour Order (CRIMBO), they say, will be easier to obtain based on the ‘balance of probabilities’ and not ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. There will also be non-negotiable support attached to the order and concerns have been raised that this element may be unenforceable.
Previously, the support element was attached to the order by the Court rather than being part of the order itself. Will the support element be enforced if the ASB stops as a result of the order? I think not.
It’s a positive that it should be swifter to obtain some of these sanctions through the courts as long as the courts can cope with the changes. It’s also a positive that the new community protection notice to tackle issues of graffiti, dog fouling , noise etc can be issued by providers of social housing.
A main concern is whether the new powers will protect the vulnerable in our society. We all know the landscape is changing, particularly for housing organisations which are increasingly dealing with vulnerable people who need help and support, not a CRIMBO or an injunction slapped on them.
The community trigger which is the first of the tools to be trialled could be accused of ‘shooting’ itself in the foot. In Bolton, it shouldn’t and doesn’t take three reports to the police or five different households to report an issue before any action is instigated.
Bolton at Home is committed to tackling anti social behaviour. We work closely with the police, and we acknowledge that this is aimed at the police responses, but it’s our partnership working that ensures robust responses to issues, with thorough investigations to determine what’s happening and mitigate against possible malicious or unfounded reports.
Let’s hope the new tools and powers work to help improve the quality of life for people suffering ASB, whilst protecting the vulnerable in our society.