In the Media

Asbos treated as ?badge of honour?

PUBLISHED July 31, 2006

ALMOST a third of young people see antisocial behaviour orders (Asbos) as a badge of honour that gives them ?street cred? rather than as a punishment, according to a snapshot of the views of 16 to 24-year-olds.

The orders, introduced in 1999, were designed to tackle misbehaviour that fell short of crime. They are now a key part of the government?s ?respect? agenda, with 7,356 issued by the end of last year.

The poll, by the MTV music channel, shows that, out of 1,118 peopled canvassed, 31% agreed Asbos and home curfew tags ?give people street cred?. Among men aged 20-24, the figure rose to 36%.

?If young people are considering Asbos a badge of honour it means the system is providing no deterrent,? said Andrew Mackie, spokesman for Asbo Concern, a lobby group campaigning for a review of the system.

In Liverpool, councillors have reported children seeking Asbos to gain kudos, and it emerged this weekend that one of Britain?s best-known recipients of an Asbo is to present a television show on the subject. Michael Carroll, 23, who will host the programme, won ?9.7m on the national lottery in 2002, and was given an Asbo for smashing windows.

The poll shows young people also have a high tolerance of drug and alcohol use. One in three admitted to having gone to school under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

However, conservative attitudes also prevail, with 70% considering it wrong to get into debt and 76% agreeing with ?traditional marriage?.

Michael Barry, managing director of MTV in Europe, said: ?Dabbling with the wrong side of the law has always been seen as a bit cool and when you are young everyone likes the villain a bit more than the hero.?

The Home Office acknowledged some young people believed Asbos conferred kudos, but a spokeswoman added: ?The novelty soon wears off.?