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"Consider whether the new procedures relating to anti-social behaviour in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill of 2003 might be open to challenge under the European Convention on Human Rights?"

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Introduction

"Consider whether the new procedures relating to anti-social behaviour in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill of 2003 might be open to challenge under the European Convention on Human Rights?" There is no doubt that for a society to function equitably a certain degree of restraining "anti-social behaviour" through anti-social behaviour orders is necessary. What however is an anti-social behaviour? Introduced by section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, they are "civil orders that exist to protect the public from behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress" (see research memorandum #1). The orders prohibit the offender from anti-social acts but they are not criminal penalties or punishments. One recent case entailing the use of anti-social behaviours in Britain is a case involving a teenager named David Young. His anti-social behaviour which involved (as he himself described it) "I've nicked cars, I've robbed about three houses in my whole life and that's about it isn't it?" (research memorandum #3) earned him a banning order from his neighbourhood for the next 10 years, reduced to 5 years by appeal. ...read more.

Middle

This can occur because in the court proceedings for such measures to be brought about it is common for wide-ranging evidence as to an individual's background and family circumstances are often addressed. Hence as the National Council for Civil Liberties (human rights organisation) argues, "the orders themselves and the means by which they are imposed constitute substantial interferences with the right to privacy and family life" (research memorandum #4). No one could say that for children's behaviour to be out of control benefits children, families or communities, however, there are appears to be a defeatist attitude reflected in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill's focus on containment rather than on prevention. It is surely essential to focus efforts on providing young people with the support and resources that will help divert them from the kind of behaviour that benefits no-one. It can also be argued however, that politicians, the press and media have focused too much on young people as the cause of anti-social behaviour. The result is that people have more hostility and fear of young people without evidence supporting that fear. ...read more.

Conclusion

We are granted our human rights without any questions, but to violate and abuse these rights by breaking into a house for example, we will lose rights in return, but for a pre-defined period we will know that we will not be imprisoned. problem with anti-social behaviour orders is that they are an arbitrary removal of civil liberties. People are losing the right to go to certain areas, losing the right to say certain things and losing the right to wear certain clothes. The whole culture of anti-social behaviour orders is leading to a tabloid-style attitude to crime and punishment. There is no question that the type of people anti-social behaviour orders are used against cause great problems for the communities they live in, and that something has to be to stop them but to continue to violate human rights by practically exiling people from their homes, banning entry to certain areas, and intruding in their private lives and family environments is most certainly not the most equitable and just method of acting on the issue. Research Memorandum 1. http://www.crimereduction.gov.uk/asbos9.pdf 2. http://www.freedom-matters.wildjelly.com/archives/000087.html 3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/panorama/1833859.stm 4. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/communities/asb_evidence/coc03-01-82. ...read more.

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