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Asbos questioned by police chief

A police chief from Greater Manchester has hit out at Anti Social Behaviour Orders (Asbo), claiming they could create crime rather than reduce it.

Chf Supt Neil Wain claims offenders with Asbos are given little support to stop them offending.

In a book he added Asbo conditions that ban people from contact with friends or entering certain areas can leave them isolated and more likely to offend.

Greater Manchester Police said these were Chf Supt Wain's personal views.

He has written the book as part of his masters degree in criminology.

Chf Supt Wain, who is divisional commander of Stockport, said youngsters who are given Asbos suffer from being named and shamed and instead should get more help to stop their offending.

"What I'm not saying is that we should do away with Asbos, what I am saying is there should be a much more balanced, tiered approach," he said.

"I'm not advocating any sort of soft approach. Under the right circumstances, it is right to use these orders.

"One of my concerns is the possibility that Asbos may lead to a longer criminal career.

"Maybe we should examine issues around the orders, conditions and the amount of support and different routes we take before we get there."

The government has said Asbos have helped crack down on yobs wreaking havoc in some neighbourhoods, as breaking the terms of an order means offenders can be sent straight to jail.

Chf Supt Wain says he advocates a tough approach where necessary with Asbos still having a role to play, but they can fail to prevent crime, which he argues is back by evidence in official statistics that show most orders are breached.

'Personal project'

He interviewed 22 people with Asbos for research on his book, although this did not include victims of anti-social behaviour.

His views come after Manchester City Council handed out more Asbos than any other local authority in the UK.

As of June this year, there were 1,259 active Asbos in the Greater Manchester Police area, and a total of 9,853 issued in England and Wales, according to Home Office figures.

Assistant Chief Constable Dave Thompson, from Greater Manchester Police said: "It is important to stress that this is a personal project and the book does not represent the views of GMP."

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