HC Deb 16 July 2003 vol 409 cc388-9W
Mr. Bailey

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment he has made of the average time taken between an application for an antisocial behaviour order and its subsequent court hearing in(a) England and Wales and (b) the West Midlands; [22781]

(2) what actions have been taken to reduce the length of time between application for antisocial behaviour orders and their subsequent hearing. [122782]

Ms Blears

Information on the length to time taken between an application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) and its subsequent hearing is not routinely collected. However, since ASBOs became available in April 1999, the Government has identified that in some cases the time between an application for an ASBO being made and the order being granted was too long.

As such, we have taken a range of measures under the Police Reform Act 2002 to improve the effectiveness of ASBOs, enabling the courts to protect communities more quickly. Interim orders can be made at the same time as an ASBO application, orders on conviction and county court orders can avoid the need for a separate court hearing.

In addition, the Government is working with agencies to spread good practice, the Judicial Studies Board has produced training to improve the courts' understanding and implementation of ASBOs and the Home Office has issued guidance to enable practitions to implement the Police Reform Act 2002 changes more effectively.