In adjusting to life in England we’ve had to update ourselves on the culture and become acquainted with new practices introduced in the 20 or so years we were away.
One of the least pleasant – and sadly indicative of the decline in standards in the UK – has been the introduction of the Anti Social Behaviour Order, or ASBO.
To an outsider, such a practice is probably hard to comprehend. From an Asian perspective it is mind boggling.
Asbo’s were introduced in England and Wales as part of the 1998 Crime and Disorder Act, but the subject only reached tipping point this year when the tally of Britons with anti-social behaviour orders passed the 5,000 mark.
This is not surprising, since according to the Government’s own findings, there are 66,000 “anti-social acts” committed every day and, compared with criminal cases, Asbo’s are child’s play for the authorities: they require only the word of a policeman or anonymously written complaints, cost an average of £5,000 each to the state (mainly staffing and legal expenses), and incredibly 98.5 per cent of all applications are accepted (of the 2,497 applications up to April last year, only 42 were refused by magistrates).
Which is disturbing when one considers that breaching the terms of an Asbo can land an individual up to five years in jail, as it has done for more than 1,000 people already. And the number of fresh cases is more than doubling every year, at a rate so Malthusian that if the current annual increase of 250 per cent continues, by some point in about March 2016 everyone in the UK will have one.
When will the Government realize that this relentless control by law, rather than leading by example and encouraging some social responsibility simply does not work? It creates taxpayer funded jobs, but fixes nothing. I’ll get straight off the soap-box and provide you with an example. More over the next few weeks:
Asbo the Community
Last week the sleepy West Lothian community of Mid Calder made its mark by becoming the setting of a new type of policing. Sick of teenage gangs drunk on cheap wine making life hell for its residents, Mid Calder became the first place in Britain to issue a village-wide crackdown on anti-social behaviour, allowing police to disperse any young person found outdoors: if they refuse, the teens face the threat of an anti-social behaviour order and up to five years in jail.
Anyone read 1984?