Of the 3,500 Asbos (Antisocial behaviour orders) handed out in England and Wales in 2004-05 (a 60 per cent rise on the figures for 2003-2004) 55% are broken.
Each Asbo issued costs the tax payer £3100, which means, of the £10,850,000 spent on Asbo administration £5,967,500 is being wasted.
The NAO (National Audit Office) questions the effectiveness of the policy, saying that more than half of all antisocial behaviour is carried out by: "a hard core of perpetrators for whom interventions had limited impact". The NAO figures show that the average offender breaks the conditions of their Asbo four times, with one offender breaking the conditions of his order 25 times."
The chairman of the Commons Public Accounts Committee, Edward Leigh, said: "Instead of being startled into bringing their behaviour into check, too often offenders respond to an Asbo by sneering at the authorities and continue to make life miserable for the rest of their community. We're not talking about high jinks from a few mischievous youngsters. We're talking about yobs whose persistent criminal activity and intimidation are making our city centres no-go areas."
Home Office minister Tony McNulty said: "Where breaches are reported it means that individuals are being monitored, that communities feel confident enough to report them and, let's be clear, if an offender breaches his or her order, there will be serious consequences, and rightly so. People can't have it both ways, accusing us of criminalising a whole generation and throwing Asbos down like confetti - which we aren't doing - and also being soft."
Q. Would it be better if those who persistently carry out acts of antisocial behaviour, receive a period in prison or a Young Offender Institution?
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