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ASBO nationThe criminalisation of nuisance$
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Peter Squires

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781847420282

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847420282.001.0001

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(p.307) Seventeen ‘ASBOmania’1
ASBO nation

Shami Chakrabarti

Jago Russell

Policy Press

In the ten years of New Labour under Tony Blair, law and order policy in the United Kingdom was characterised by radical extensions of summary powers to police and local authorities to ‘take on the wrongdoers’ and to tackle ‘anti-social behaviour’. The Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) was the flagship measure of this aggressive law and order policy, and the UK was then in the grip of what has been described as ‘Asbomania’. This approach to law and order was founded on the view that traditional criminal justice values, born in this country, exported around the world — equality of arms, the presumption of innocence and the proportionate and dispassionate meting out of punishment by the state, those values that preceded the post-war universal human rights consensus and became so central to it — simply will not do. They are neither fundamental and inalienable nor even potentially expendable. Instead, their disposal is a matter of social duty and considerable urgency.

Keywords:   New Labour, Tony Blair, law and order, United Kingdom, anti-social behaviour, Anti-Social Behaviour Order, Asbomania, criminal justice

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