ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR: Liberty says Dorset orders violate HumanRights Act

By Anthony Burt

| 18 February 2004

Purbeck District Council is breaching the Human Rights Act by printing and distributing antisocial behaviour order (ASBO) leaflets featuring young people's personal details and photographs, according to civil rights organisation Liberty.

The council, along with Swanage police, posted the leaflets to local residents and displayed them in shop windows warning the public about young people who have an ASBO placed against them.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "We are very concerned about this practice.Naming and shaming young people who are subject to ASBOs is unjustified. We believe councils that do this are acting outside their powers and are breaching the Human Rights Act."

Liberty is already involved in a case against Brent council and the Metropolitan Police in order to challenge this practice. Roger Whalley, chairman of Purbeck District Council's crime and disorder reduction partnership, said: "After taking legal advice, we do not believe the council is breaching the Human Rights Act. It is necessary to promote orders telling the public about people who might cause the community problems."

Jeff Andrews, senior youth worker in Swanage for Dorset Youth Service, said: "We talked with young people about the antisocial behaviour order leaflets. They understood why the police were handing them out but they didn't like the fact that they named other young people as well as the young person with the ASBO."

According to Andrews, the first young person to be featured in a leaflet distributed locally had "already moved away and turned a corner" in his behaviour.

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