ASBOs (Plymouth)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 10th October 2005.

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Photo of Linda Gilroy Linda Gilroy Labour, Plymouth, Sutton 2:30 pm, 10th October 2005

If he will make a statement on the use of antisocial behaviour orders in Plymouth.

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Antisocial behaviour orders are one of a number of tools being used in Plymouth as part of their local strategy to tackle antisocial behaviour. Local practitioners have taken a robust stance against antisocial behaviour and report that ASBOs have been effectively used alongside other interventions, such as acceptable behaviour contracts and injunctions.

Photo of Linda Gilroy Linda Gilroy Labour, Plymouth, Sutton

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I hope she agrees that it is important to give confidence to victims. In reviewing antisocial behaviour orders, will she consider changing the law so that appeals by perpetrators involve a paper-based system rather than a full rehearing, which means that the victims have to give evidence again and ties up the valuable resources—the time and the commitment—of antisocial behaviour units.

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I am only too well aware of the impact that antisocial behaviour can have on victims and witnesses. I congratulate Elaine Holland and Jane Kemp from Plymouth who bravely took a stand and have since set up their own helpline to help other victims and witnesses in the Plymouth area. My hon. Friend has been a tireless campaigner on those issues in her local community for many years. I am happy to consider her suggestion. I am always keen to see how we can make our antisocial behaviour legislation focused, effective and practical in protecting the rights of the law-abiding majority.

Photo of Gary Streeter Gary Streeter Conservative, South West Devon

I am sure that antisocial behaviour orders have a part to play, but can the Minister explain why, despite five years of ASBOs, antisocial behaviour by young people in my constituency, in particular in Plympton and Plymstock, two suburbs of Plymouth, is getting worse? Will she review the use of ASBOs to see whether the Government can come up with additional measures that might help to take some of the menace and intimidation off the streets of Plymouth?

Photo of Hazel Blears Hazel Blears Minister of State (Home Office) (Policing, Security and Community Safety), Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

I have always said that our campaign against antisocial behaviour is not simply about enforcement, important though that is; it is also about support. We now have more than 6,500 parenting orders, and we have recently introduced the individual support order, which runs alongside the antisocial behaviour order to try to tackle the causes of antisocial behaviour. These are significant issues which affect the constituency of every Member of the House, so we must have a range of tools to enable us to tackle them. We are being tough on antisocial behaviour and tough on the causes of antisocial behaviour. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that in recent years, according to the British crime survey, the number of people experiencing antisocial behaviour as a significant problem has decreased significantly. Clearly, however, we have much more to do.