ASBOs, respect and youth clubs

12 May 2008 by Karl Hallam

Recent reports say that the number of ASBOs issued has reduced significantly since Brown took over from Blair. What has not changed as much is the percentage of ASBOs that are being breached. What does this mean? Well, it might suggest that there are still not enough places to go and things to do for young people.

The Home Secretary says that they want to issue more Parenting Orders and has said she wants 'police and local agencies to focus on them by giving them a taste of their own medicine: daily visits, repeated warnings and relentless filming of offenders to create an environment where there is nowhere to hide'.

Students of local elections will note that a crackdown on yobs is always promised, after every local election, by whoever wins it. In 2008 this could be Johnson in London or the Lib Dems in Sheffield or Labour in ... Well, look back a few years and you will see it is true. There is a good reason for this pattern. It is because councillors have spent the last few weeks on the doorstep having their ears bent about this issue and want to prove that they have been listening.

Students of repeating patterns will note that this could suggest that previous crackdowns have not been very successful if it is still such a problem?

Cadence visited somewhere that could offer lessons on how to break this cycle: the Hunslett Boys' and Girls' Club in South Leeds, a self-financing, innovative club that is making a difference by offering fun, clear behaviour boundaries with long-serving, well-paid, permanantly employed staff alongside a lot of committed volunteers. The Home Secretary ought to speak to Cabinet colleague Hillary Benn, who is one of the local MPs, and arrange a visit.


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