Asbos increase in Ipswich

MORE troublemakers in the Ipswich area have been made subject to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders according to new figures from the Home Office.Between April and September last year, 12 ASBOs were issued by magistrates sitting in Ipswich.

MORE troublemakers in the Ipswich area have been made subject to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders according to new figures from the Home Office.

Between April and September last year, 12 ASBOs were issued by magistrates sitting in Ipswich.

That compares with a total of eight during the previous 12 months and eight between April 1999 and March 2003.

The figures were released through Ipswich MP Chris Mole the day after Home Secretary Charles Clarke announced a new clampdown on anti-social behaviour and urged more courts to allow young thugs to be named and shamed.

Mr Mole said: "These figures show that the magistrates are taking the problem seriously and are issuing more ASBOs when they feel they are necessary.

"What is needed, though, is for the courts and the police to take action if ASBOs are breached - and I'm not sure that always happens."

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Figures from the Crown Prosecution Service in Suffolk show that between April and September last year they undertook 24 prosecutions for breach of ASBOs at the South East Suffolk Magistrates' court, whose area includes greater Ipswich and as far away as Felixstowe and Woodbridge.

Darren Horsmann from the CPS said some people clearly did not understand - or care - about getting an ASBO.

He said: "Some people have been prosecuted for a breach several times - one person was prosecuted on five different occasions during that time."

Breaching an ASBO is considered a serious offence, and Home Office guidelines say that a breach should normally lead to a custodial sentence.

However there have been concerns that too often breaches lead to non-custodial sentences.

Mr Mole said: "There needs to be a clear message that ASBOs are a serious matter that must be complied with.

"I don't think anyone wants to get an ASBO - they are severe restrictions - but we need people to know how serious they are," he said.