Should ministers’ seize iPods to control tearaways?

Home Secretary Theresa May believes Asbos need to be replaced by new methods of control in the fight against anti-social behaviour

Ministers’ will today announced the abandonment of Asbos as a punishment for anti-social behaviour as the orders have become a badge of honour among many gangs.

The new criminal behaviour orders will ban troublemakers from streets and town centre’s for up to two years and utilize the seizure of personal assets such as stereo systems and electronic gadgets.

The Home Office believe the new initiative will ‘hit them where it hurts’ by confiscating items that are of huge importance to youngsters. ‘We want punishments that are meaningful and useful,’ says a government source.

But previous ideas to target tearaways with financial penalties have been attacked as ‘gimmicks’ and some opponents believe taking money or property from offenders will only make them more likely to seek revenge by committing muggings or burglaries.

The change will see Labour’s anti-social behaviour powers scrapped and replaced with a new scale of penalties to deal with low-level crime. Police will be issued discretionary powers to punish troublemakers, instead of dragging them through the legal system.

Other sanctionscould include repairing damage to property, cleaning police cars and picking up litter much in the same way as community service.

The initiative aims to move away from the term ‘anti social behaviour’ which Theresa May has criticized as unhelpful. ‘By calling it anti-social behaviour, it made it seem less important and less of a crime,’ she says. ‘Part of the problem is that people feel they are reporting things that are wrong but they are not seeing any action.’

Ministers will consult over the change of powers and punishments ahead of the Bill’s publication later this year.

Do you think the new initiative will make police officers more accountable for low-level crime? Do you think the new style of punishment will be more effective in preventing re-offending or are there more effective measures we should be taking? Post your own thoughts and experiences in the box below.

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