ASBOs not the answer

Tom Harris has written on the subject of ASBOs on his highly readable blog. For me the issue of ASBOs misses the point. An ASBO does not stop anti social behaviour. Broken windows policing does. How many instances do the law abiding majority need to give of anti social behaviour going unpunished?

In the last 12 months how about when someone on a moped drove across a neighbours front lawn. That time the police actually caught the culprit and said that they had tax and insurance so would write them a stiff letter. Oh come on!! What will that do? If I road across someones garden in my car I suspect I wouldn’t be treated like that.

Take the time when my satnav was  stolen out of my car. The police were not interested and never sent anyone.

Finally this week take the time when I saw someone driving past a toddlers play area on a motorbike, on a cycle path/ pavement with no helmet. Having called the police 60 seconds after the incident happened the response on the phone was that no one would come out as the culprit had gone. It isn’t ASBOs we want it’s a police force that will clamp down on the smaller pieces of anti social behaviour as doing that is proven to show that the bigger things also will not be tolerated.

We want broken windows policing and we want it now.

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14 Responses to ASBOs not the answer

  1. James Hamilton says:

    Your points are fair enough and I'd like to see more proactive policing and zero tolerance of petty crime, I don't see how getting rid of ASBOs, in itself, achieves this.

    • toryradio says:

      I doesn't achieve it. But it gets rid of an initiative that doesn't achieve anything. It comes down to having rules and laws that are never enfored. If they aren't then what is the point.

      Someone gets an ASBO… and? It is just like the case I wrote about where the two youths who had in fact possibly caused criminal damage with their mopeds. They get a letter from the police. Do you think people who drive their mopeds through someones front lawn care about a letter? Do you think an ASBO does anything to stop those intent on anti social behaviour? No. But a broken windows approach to policing might.

  2. operanut1972 says:

    British Criminal Law needs a complete review. We should never have nothing in the arsenal of punishment other than a slapped hand. When working for HMCS I was left speechless on numerous occasions when a particular individual used to be before the bench for the same crimes time after time. All the bench could offer was a severe admonishment and 'Don't do it again!' Come on!!!!!!!!!

  3. Steve Capeton says:

    ASBOs work effectively. Broken Windows policing is used and does work effectively as well. You are about 15-20 years behind the times if you are only proposing it now- Kelling's work was adopted by the Police a long time back.

    Your opposition to ASBOs is based on flawed logic and possibly a bit of confusion. If you have the same individual committing an act of anti-social behaviour- say for example riding a moped on a public park and upsetting other members of the public- the police have limited powers to deal with this. The bike may be seized after the 2nd instance of its misuse, but it would most probably not reach the threshold for a public order offence and so the regrettable decision would be made that there are better areas where effort could be expended to help victims of crime rather than spending an inordinate amount of time dealing with a job which will not result in a positive outcome.

    ASBOs allow police to criminalise certain Anti-social behaviours. You may not have first hand experience of them working, but I can assure you that they do. It allows arrests to be made for quality of life crimes which would otherwise not fall within the scope of legislation.

    Your opposition to ASBOs is entirely inconsistent with being in favour of Broken Windows policing. If you want to know why, then read Kelling's work.

    • toryradio says:

      Steve if you think I am living 15 to 20 years behind the times I would suggest you are living on a different planet. To suggest the police adopt a broken windows approach to policing is laughable. There are numerous instances of minor crimes being completely ignored. Broken windows policing means crimes against property are actually investigated and I can assure you in many instances they aren't at the moment.

      Then of course you assure me ASBOs work. Tell that to the victims of crime committed by yobos who have been given ASBOs which did nothing whatsoever to stop that crime being committed.

      • operanut1972 says:

        Hear, Hear. Totally agree with you. Had an incident in August where a group of Kids were making a nuisance of them selves, I tried reasoning with them to no avail, it was only when I mentioned I was a disabled wheelchair user in the house on my own that the police agreed to send a team out. It took them nearly 40 minutes to get to me by which time the kids had dispersed. Now I hate relying on the fact that I'm disabled to get the old Bill out. 20 years ago, if I'd have made a call, there would have been no issue with someone coming out I wouldn't have had to tell them I was disabled and they would have been there a darn site quicker than 40 minutes. Broken Window Policing works only if the Police react to the minor anti social crimes and does so quickly. The Labour Government was supposedly putting more coppers on the beat, I certainly haven't seen any!

  4. Steve Capeton says:

    ToryRadio- Can you tell me where you have first hand experience of the effectiveness of ASBOs or of the use of Broken Windows theory in policing? Are you a member of a Police Authority, a special constable etc? I am genuinely intrigued as to where the experiences which lead you to believe that the police are generally not properly dealing with anti-social behaviour. If police officers are saying that ASBOs assist in combatting crime then what insights do you have that causes you to feel so strongly that you can say that they are wrong?

    Your logic is flawed when you say that ASBOs 'did nothing to stop that crime being committed'. Firstly, what specific incident are you talking about? If it were, hypothetically, an incident where someone committed a crime such as criminal damage whilst the subject of an ASBO then no- perhaps it would not stop the crime being committed, but it allows for specific terms to be forced on people which can impede their ability to offend, such as curfews, banning them from certain areas, or from associating with others who they offend alongside. It then allows the police to intervene and arrest these individuals when they are in a given area, or associating with these named people prior to them following the natural course and creating another victim.

    I really think you are very wrong on this issue. Are you willing to be persuaded of that and to look again or am I wasting my time?

    • toryradio says:

      What experience of Broken Windows policing not being instigated? Car broken into on my drive. Reported to police. Never investigated and never saw any police man or woman. Result.. we now pay for an alarm system. Car parked legally having its wing mirror knocked off. Again nothing done. Joy rider with no helmet reported for driving motorbike down paved area next to a kiddies playground. Told by police they would not bother to send anyone. Result, we no longer bother reporting incidents like these – which incidentally is someone breaking the law.

      Those are just personal experiences of being let down by Notts police which incidentally are the worst performing force in the country. Perhaps you can tell me what makes you an authority on my local police force who categorically do not investigate minor offences such as these.

      You say an ASBO allows police to intervene. They don't do anything on many ocassions when they have crimes reported directly to them – as I have shown just from my own personal experience.

  5. Steve Capeton says:

    Can I make a genuine suggestion? That you approach your local force and ask to join a double-crewed unit one Friday or Saturday and see whether the police don't 'bother' to attend or whether they are actually being swamped with crime reports and have to pick the most important jobs in order to keep people safe.

    The same people who you clearly suspect don't care (from your story back at the top about the moped riding through a garden) are actually working themselves as hard as humanly possible to try to address anti-social behaviour and I am not trying to sound patronising when I say that until you witness the reality first hand you will struggle to understand the context of any real discussion about law and order. I think you might find that it changes your perception of the police- I wish more of the public were able to go out on patrol and see things through their local police's eyes… I suspect they would come away from it understanding why the police struggle to be as effective as they would dearly like to be, and maybe even feel a bit of guilt at how critical they have been.

    I hope you do approach your local force.

    • toryradio says:

      I have seen my local force in action when I was a parliamentary candidate. Again – what makes you an expert on my local force? "The most important" is absolutely NOT broken windows poliing – thereby contradicting your previous protestations!

  6. Steve Capeton says:

    You have little or no idea what 'Broken Windows Policing' is. That much is now very obvious. You are clearly more interested in point scoring than actually debating this issue- I suspect because you have only a superficial knowledge of the theories you try to promote and little or no knowledge of the realities of policing. For what it is worth- I am very strongly in favour of the Broken Windows theory, but that is because I have spent time researching it, writing about it, and seeing it implemented.

    You seem to be trying to latch on to some odd notion that if I do not have an in-depth knowledge of your specific local police force that I therefore am not capable of commenting on the broader issues that are being discussing.

    Finally, if you genuinely believe that anti-social behaviour is 'more important' than rapes, robberies and burglaries (which is quite clearly what I mean when I say police HAVE to deal with the most important jobs) and that police should ignore these in order to deal with your moped in the front garden issues, the frankly you are delusional and the idea of you being an elected representative is terrifying.

    People feel they can pontificate on some things without having any expert knowledge. You wouldn't post here criticising doctors or the specific policies of the NHS because you know that they are professionals and have a far greater understanding of their work than you do (unless you are a Doctor, I have no idea of your background so I am using this as an example). You do however, feel able to pass comment on policing- this seems to stem from a contempt you hold for the police, probably influenced only by the media and because it is an easy bandwagon to jump on.

    I would be more than happy to debate this issue, and others, with you. You don't seem to actually want to do this and have become stuck in a circular argument where you deny even the most objective facts in an effort to turn this discussion in to a war of attrition. It is disappointing.

    • toryradio says:

      Oh Steve grow up. I have shown you clear facts whereby the police do not act upon smaller scale crimes. Not theoretical incidents, clear facts. You ask me what experience I base my comments on and when I give those facts you move your goalposts. What is your experience Steve… let us all know?

      It is you who seems to think that because you have studied the theory of something you appreciate the practicalities of it, which I call into question. You have absolutely failed to explain who ignoring small scale crimes are acceptable. I have never said that doing so should take priority over more serious crimes – that is again a proposition put forward only by you.

      Nottinghamshire police, in my view and the view of more than one MP not on the same side of politics as me is a shambles – but then that may not fit your narrative.

  7. Steve Capeton says:

    It does amuse that when your weak arguments are exposed for what they are that you respond with 'grow up'. I have never moved the goal posts- I have been consistent throughout. ASBOs work, and I have explained why.

    In fact if anyone is 'moving the goal posts' it is you. You now subscribe opinions to me that I have never put forwards- that 'ignoring' crimes is acceptable. That is just a cheap slur and I have never said it. You have also said that it is in some way remarkable that I should say the police need to prioritise their response to incidents- I am afraid that would only seem surprising to someone who lacks an awareness of reality.

    Now reduced to calling individual forces a 'shambles' you clearly have nothing constructive to say, your posts lack any sort of intellect to back up your criticisms. I am sure it plays well to the gallery but to be honest you simply do not know what you are talking about. It is like having a conversation with the Daily Express.

    • toryradio says:

      LOL… questioning my intellect? Very good. Like being in the playground. I think my grow up comment is even more apt.

      Are Nottinghamshire police not shambolic? Provide me the evidence. I can provide you how they have ranked as the worst performing police force in the country. I have already provided you personal incidents where they have been poor in their resposes. Where is your evidence?

      And still no evidence as to what makes Steve Capeton such an expert.Come on Steve. You have read some research but tell us all why you are right? Or perhaps the law abiding majority who read the Express and Mail and other papers you seemingly look down on or just oh so wrong.

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