Camden sets annual ASBO target of one per estate officer
22 April 2005
Camden Council has set its estate officers annual targets for obtaining antisocial behaviour orders,writes Martin Hilditch.
By Martin Hilditch
The officers, who manage about 600 properties each, are set a total of one ASBO or injunction a year. Also, each estate officer is asked to make two referrals a year for each estate concerning noise nuisance to the Camden Mediation Service and two referrals to Camden’s youth inclusion and support panels.
A spokeswoman for Camden council said: “Estate officers manage about 600 properties and the targets are set in relation to the amount of complaints district housing officers get of antisocial behaviour from residents, so we believe this is reasonable.
“These targets show a balanced approach between service provision, complemented by enforcement where necessary, and this approach is supported by the vast majority of council residents at community meetings.”
Camden emphasised that it has a three-pronged approach to tackling antisocial behaviour. It will first try to prevent it through children’s clubs, outreach work and youth inclusion and support panels. It will also try to arrange treatment for people whose antisocial behaviour is caused by drug and alcohol use. The next option is enforcement.
Camden’s move emerged at a launch for pressure group ASBO Concern last week. Matt Foot, the group’s co-ordinator, said targets were not the way forward. “Camden has had something like 150 ASBOs, which is more than the whole of Wales. If they are giving [targets] for workers to impose ASBOs it is even more worrying.”
The news emerged in the same week that Ian MacDonald, violence reduction manager with Liverpool city council, warned that the government must guard against seeing the orders as purely a numbers game.
He said: “If we are not careful, we get pushed into going ASBO crazy when it is only an output [not an outcome].”
Note: This is the first I, as an Estate Officer in Camden, am aware of it! And the results show that over half of ASBOs are breached.