Brent battle for the Asbo
Residents hit out at the Government s decision to scrap Anti Social Behaviour Orders (Asbo), saying it could undermine efforts to tackle low level crime, writes Kate Ferguson. Home Secretary Theresa May last Thursday announced the Government is ditching L
Residents hit out at the Government's decision to scrap Anti Social Behaviour Orders (Asbo), saying it could undermine efforts to tackle low level crime, writes Kate Ferguson.
Home Secretary Theresa May last Thursday announced the Government is ditching Labour's policy of giving Asbos for nuisance behaviour.
Ms May described the policy 'gimmicky' and said police would be given new powers to punish low level offenders, although she did not elaborate on what these would be.
Suresh Mamtora, the residents' chairman of the Fryent ward Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) panel said Asbos played a central role in promoting community safety and it was irresponsible to axe them without detailing a replacement.
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Mr Mamtora said: "Scrapping Asbos is a retrograde step unless it is immediately replaced by something similar. It could make it more difficult for PCSOs. They don't seem to have a lot of authority, but at least they had this in their armoury and could take action against people causing a real nuisance.
"It is a form of restraint as well. We were setting boundaries and a limit to their behaviour. What have we got to replace it now?"
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Mr Mamtora, who is also chairman of the Springfield Estate Residents Association, which has been targeted by gangs of youths who harass residents, said: "I was concerned when Theresa May called on people to take responsibility for intervening when they have taken away a punishment to do this. What sort of message does that send?"
Cathy Smith, who lives in Mortimer Crescent Estate, in Kilburn, said: "Youths used to congregate in the estate and every morning cars would be smashed into.
"Asbos and community policing really turned the estate around. It is ridiculous to scrap them - it is crucial we catch these people while they are young. If they get rid of Asbos, what are they going to do with the people who cause trouble?"
Cllr Lincoln Beswick, Harlesden ward, lead member for crime prevention and public safety, echoed these concerns.
Cllr Beswick said: "It is very irresponsible to announce the scrapping of it without having something else put in place. It gives the impression the Government is soft on crime.