Essex force praises Asbo usage

POLICE in Essex have praised the introduction of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) after figures showed more than 110 have been issued in the county since their introduction.

By Roddy Ashworth

POLICE in Essex have praised the introduction of anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) after figures showed more than 110 have been issued in the county since their introduction.

An Asbo is a civil order designed to protect local communities from behaviour that causes harassment, alarm or distress.

It usually takes the form of a command issued by a magistrate preventing the subject being in certain places at certain times and forbidding them from engaging in certain types of behaviour such as being drunk in public.

Breach of an Asbo is a civil offence and can lead to up to five years' imprisonment or a fine of up to £5,000.

Asbos were introduced under the crime and Disorder Act of 1998 and have been available for use since 1999.

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However, the first in Essex were not issued until 2002, when two were granted by courts in the county.

The numbers have risen swiftly each year, with 58 being issued in Essex between January and September of last year.

The majority of these were issued in the Southend area, where 24 were granted. However 20 have been issued in the Colchester borough and 11 in Chelmsford.

In Braintree district, only four have been issued while in Tendring six have been granted.

However, fears that Asbos would be used solely to persecute young people have been proved groundless.

Only half of the Asbos granted in Essex have been aimed at those aged 10 to 17, with the rest being issued against adults.

More Asbos have been issued in Suffolk than Essex, with 130 being granted in the neighbouring county.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Essex Police said: “Asbos have become a useful tool in our toolkit when dealing with matters of anti-social behaviour.

“Since their introduction they have proved useful in deterring such behaviour while also reassuring local residents.”

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