Half of Asbos have been flouted

MORE than half of all anti social behaviour orders issued in Suffolk have been flouted, it can be revealed today.In the five year period between January 2001 and December 2005 a total of 165 ASBOs were issued in the county - the highest number in the East of England.

MORE than half of all anti social behaviour orders issued in Suffolk have been flouted, it can be revealed today.

In the five year period between January 2001 and December 2005 a total of 165 ASBOs were issued in the county - the highest number in the East of England.

However despite authorities being keen to use the tool to curb bad behaviour, a total of 85 breaches occurred during the same period - 52 per cent of the total issued.

The figure of 85 breaches is made up solely of instances when offenders have been caught or spotted defying the terms of their order.The true figure could be far higher.

Despite the statistics, Andy Solomon, anti social behaviour network manager for Ipswich, said ASBOs have proved a success.

He said: “My personal view is that they have been a success but I don't think you could say every one has been a success.

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“On the balance of things they have been more positive than negative.”

Mr Solomon said the number of breaches does not give a clear indication of how many people have defied their restrictions as one person may breach an order several times.

He added that in some cases the courts use their powers to jail persistent breachers.

This was the case in November 2006 when Ipswich street drinker Michael Debenham, 55, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty to breaching his order. Debenham's sentence was halved on appeal.

Trimley pensioner and nuisance neighbour Arthur Burgess, 82, spent six months in prison on remand after twice breaching an anti social behaviour order imposed after he threatened his neighbours and staff at Suffolk Coastal District Council.

He is one of the oldest people in the country to receive an ASBO.

Mr Solomon said: “Since ASBOs were introduced it has been a learning experience for everybody, particularly the agencies that are empowered to apply for an ASBO.

“Each ASBO has to be tailored to the individual but it mustn't be forgotten that they are not necessarily there to restrict movement but rather bring relief to the community.”

Current figures show there are 37 people in Ipswich subject to ASBOs which includes four youths.

n.Do you think ASBOs work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ASBOs in Suffolk:

2001 - 4 issued 1 breach

2002 - 5 issued 1 breach

2003 - 25 issued 9 breaches

2004 - 78 issued 24 breaches

2005 - 53 issued 50 breaches

In summary: ASBOs

An Anti-Social Behaviour Order, or ASBO, is a civil order made against a person who has been shown to have engaged in anti-social behaviour. In the United Kingdom, this is defined as "conduct which caused or was likely to cause alarm, harassment, or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as him or herself and where an ASBO is seen as necessary to protect relevant persons from further anti-social acts by the defendant".

ASBOs aim to prevent problems by restricting offenders from partaking in certain activities - for example an unruly teenager may be banned from a shopping centre where they regularly cause problems.

ASBOs last for a minimum of two years.

A breach of an ASBO can result in a prison sentence of up to five years.