Respect councillor Michael Lavalette from Preston introduced a discussion on Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).
He told the conference, “The fact that an ASBO is issued is an admission that the police couldn’t get a criminal conviction.
“ASBOs are being issued for ridiculous reasons. An alcoholic woman from Kent was issued with an ASBO that said she couldn’t drink in the street. If she does she faces five years in prison for doing something that is not a criminal act.
“An 80 year old man in Liverpool was served with an ASBO that ordered him not to be sarcastic.”
Laura from Harlow talked about how the council was closing playgrounds in the town because it faced a £1.5 million shortfall.
“They are closing the playgrounds because they can’t afford them. But they are increasing the amount of money they spend on issuing ASBOs on the young people who are left with nowhere to go and nothing
“We need resources to deal with the problems these kids have.”
Abjul, a youth worker from east London, argued for Respect to establish a youth parliament.
He said, “Young people don’t want to be criminalised.
“If young people have access to the right facilities they can make a big contribution to society and create their own solutions.
“Instead they get privatised youth services and the voluntary sector being squeezed. I know young people who don’t want to wait years to vote Respect—they want to vote now.”
Kathy from north London said, “A society should be judged by how it helps its young people grow up. And it shouldn’t be by excluding them from school and banning them from meeting their friends in the streets where they live, which is what is happening where I live.”