‘Asbo Yobs Are Getting Away With It’
No anti-social behaviour orders have been slapped on troublemakers in Cardiff this year. Yobs who have caused chaos in the city have been sent letters warning them about their behaviour – but none of them has been given curfews or banned from the streets.
Although 261 Asbo warning notices have been issued – more than one a day – NO Asbos have been served and just two acceptable behaviour contracts have been signed. And this has led to criticism that the measures are failing people who want to eliminate anti-social behaviour.
Debbie Gray, from South Splott Residential Association, has already resigned as a member of Partnership and Communities Together (Pact), which had held a string of anti-crime meetings across Cardiff, because she believes they have become just a talking-shop.
And she is worried about the lack of Asbos, saying: “You can send out as many warning letters as you like, but unless something is done to make people realise the consequences of their actions, Asbos will not work. Writing to those who commit crimes will not do the job.”
Canton councillor Ramesh Patel is among those who feel the Asbo system is not working, saying: “I believe stage one letters work in most cases, but the hardcore troublemakers should have moved onto stage three – acceptable behaviour contracts – or the full Asbo by now. From these figures it seems none has, which means the council and police are failing in this area.”
But South Wales Police and Cardiff council have defended the figures, saying they are dealing with anti-social behaviour in other ways. A council spokesman said: “Sending out warning letters and applying for Asbos are not the only tools we use. There are many other measures to deal with the root causes of anti-social behaviour which are also effective.”
So far in 2007, 68 second-stage letters have been hand-delivered to persistent offenders. Superintendent Carl Davies said: “We have a number of methods in place to deal with anti-social behaviour, which remains a priority for South Wales Police.
“First-stage letters are often the answer for many youths acting in an anti- social manner. In addition to the Asbo process we have a robust neighbourhood policing team allocated to each ward in Cardiff. We use licensing laws and other powers to tackle anti-social behaviour too.”