HC Deb 14 May 2003 vol 405 cc247-8W
Sir Michael Spicer

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many antisocial Behaviour Orders are in force; [111774]

(2) how many breaches there have been of antisocial Behaviour Orders. [111773]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth

From 1 April 1999 to 31 May 2000 data on the number of antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) issued was collected by police force area. From 1 June 2000 official statistics on the number of ASBOs issued are based on quarterly returns from Magistrates' Courts Committees (MCCs).

Available information shows the number of notifications received by the Home Office of ASBOs issued from 1 April 1999 up to 31 December 2001 was 532. The number of notifications received from 1 January 2002 up to 30 November 2002 (latest available) was 253. Data are not collected centrally on the number of ASBOs in force at any given time.

We are aware that the number of ASBOs made nationally have been consistently under-reported in returns made by magistrates courts and are considering how reporting can be improved. 66 persons had breaches of their ASBOs proved to the satisfaction of the court and notified to the Home Office in 2000 and a further 258 in 2001 (persons breaching an ASBO more than once and dealt with on separate occasions will be counted more than once in these figures).

However, as the number of ASBOs made is known to be under-reported and breaches of ASBOs count persons every time they appear in court, these figures cannot be used to calculate a breach rate. For this reason a special exercise was undertaken, covering the period 1 June 2000 to 31 December 2001, to match persons convicted of breaching their ASBOs on at least one occasion (as notified by the police and the courts) with ASBOs made (as notified by the MCC). This showed that during this period 125 persons had breached their ASBOs out of 428 for whom ASBOs had been made and notified to the Home Office, a breach rate of 20 per cent.

Statistics on breaches of ASBOs in 2002 will be published in the autumn.