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Anti-social Behaviour Orders

Volume 687: debated on Thursday 7 December 2006

My honourable friend the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety (Tony McNulty) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am announcing today statistics relating to anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs). Data on the number of ASBOs issued are updated quarterly. New figures for the period up to December 2005 are now available. These figures show that for the period between April 1999 and December 2005 the total number of ASBOs issued (as reported to the Home Office by HMCS) was 9,853. Of those ASBOs issued, 56 per cent were to adults and 41 per cent to juveniles (3 per cent of ASBOs are age unknown). Some 42 per cent were orders on application and 58 per cent were orders on conviction.

The Home Office is notified by all courts of ASBOs issued. As indicated in the Statement on 3 November 2005, Official Report, cols. 52-3WS, a joint exercise between Her Majesty's Courts Service and the Home Office has been undertaken to refine and improve further the collection of these data. We contacted local agencies such as crime and disorder reduction partnerships, the British Transport Police, social housing providers and the courts themselves to cross reference and reconcile the differing sources of data. This exercise showed a degree of under-reporting of some 18 per cent.

The data published today have been amended to reflect the results of the data improvement exercise. It is however clear that these figures are an estimate, and although we believe they are very close to the true figures, we cannot eliminate the possibility of a continued degree of under-reporting using the current data collection system. For this reason, we have worked closely with HMCS to develop an action plan to improve the data collection process, which means that data published from next year will be quality assured to the required level. These data are available on the Crime Reduction website at www.crimereduction.gov.uk/asbos/asbos2.htm.

I am also publishing data about the breach rate for ASBOs. The previous publication, for the period up to December 2003, showed that a breach rate of 42 per cent overall (40 per cent for juveniles and 47 per cent for adults). However, recalculating these figures to make them consistent with current data gives a breach rate of 47 per cent for juveniles and 38 per cent for adults (42 per cent overall). This has itself now changed, for the period to December 2005, to 47 per cent overall (57 per cent for juveniles and 41 per cent for adults).

I have also placed in the Library an account of the data reconciliation exercise, and actions in hand to improve the data collection system. The new data collection system will come on stream next year, possibly as early as the spring. We are looking at moving to national statistics standard with these data.