Few Britons Consider Anti-Social Behaviour Orders as a Success

Few Britons Consider Anti-Social Behaviour Orders as a Success
Three-in-four respondents believe anti-social behaviour has become frequent, normal and tolerated in the UK.

People in Britain are not convinced that the controversial Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are working, and more than half believe the Government’s proposed course of action on this subject will be either unsuccessful or ineffectual, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of 2,025 British adults, three-in-four respondents (77%) agree with the notion that anti-social behaviour (such as noise pollution, littering, shoplifting, drunken behaviour) in the United Kingdom has become “frequent, normal and tolerated”—a view expressed by Home Secretary Theresa May during a speech in July.

ASBOs are civil orders made against people who have been shown to have engaged in anti-social behaviour in the United Kingdom. ASBOs impose restrictions, such as banning people from a local area or preventing them from swearing in public.

When asked to rely on their own personal experience to assess the ASBOs, only one-in-ten Britons (10%) think the orders have been successful in curbing anti-social behaviour in the UK. More than a third (35%) deem ASBOs unsuccessful, and two-in-five (39%) think they have had no effect on anti-social behaviour.

A plurality of respondents (44%) would support abolishing ASBOs, but one third of Britons (33%) would prefer to keep them in place.

The Government has called for a new approach to deal with anti-social behaviour, which entails moving beyond the ASBOs and changing the emphasis, with communities working with the police and other agencies to stop bad behaviour from escalating.

While 16 per cent of respondents expect the new approach to be successful in curbing anti-social behaviour in the UK, one-in-four (25%) say it will be unsuccessful, and three-in-ten (30%) think the new policy will have no effect on anti-social behaviour.

Respondents aged 18 to 34 are more likely to believe in the success of the Government’s proposed course of action (22%) than those aged 35 to 54 (12%) and those over the age of 55 (14%).

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Methodology: From September 3 to September 6, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 2,025 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.


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