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Met Commissioner wants cops to issue “instant justice”

Posted by James Hammerton @ 10:36 pm on 24 September, 2005.
Categories democracy and the rule of law.
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The Scotsman reports that Sir Iain Blair, the Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police is calling for the creation of a class of police officers who would have the power to confiscate driving licences, seize vehicles and issue Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) on the spot. Note that ASBOs put in place restrictions on the behaviour of those against whom they’re issued, e.g. according to the Home Office website:

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) are statutory measures that aim to protect the public from behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

An order contains conditions prohibiting the offender from specific anti-social acts or entering defined areas, and is effective for a minimum of two years. For example, an ASBO may prohibit an offender from associating with other named people or from going near a house where they have caused problems.

ASBOs are civil orders made in court. They can be applied for by local authorities, police forces (including the British Transport Police) and by registered social landlords, but not by members of the public.

They are community-based orders that involve local people in the collection of evidence and in helping to monitor breaches.

The civil status of ASBOs means hearsay and professional witness evidence can be heard in ASBO applications. This is an extremely important feature of ASBOs because those subjected to the anti-social behaviour or those reporting the behaviour can be protected.

Breach of an order is a criminal offence, which is arrestable and recordable.

2455 ASBOs were reported to the Home Office for the period between 1 April 1999 and 31 March 2004

Conditions imposed in practice have included some bizarre cases such as a ban on making sarcastic comments.

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