Here is the sentence handed down to a youth convicted of attempted robbery that I was involved in.
Supervision Order 9 months to follow directions in the order:
- Supervised by a member of YOT (Youth Offending Team)
- Participate in young black men's group work programme
- one to one sessions with victim liason worker to address the impact of offending on the victim
- reparation sessions as assessed by specialist worker
- one to one sessions to consider thinking and behaviour and appropriate responses to situations
- one to one sessions to identify and engage in appropriate training or employment.
Now for non recidivist offenders the above might well be worthwhile. I'm sure that for many it might divert them from a life of crime. More minor offences would also be subject to intervention by the youth offending team. Non compliance can result in curfew by Tag and being taken back to youth court. You need to be convicted though for any of this to take place, very difficult in itself. In the case I allude to above the best result was having the lad and his mates on conditional bail for several months on a night time curfew before trial. I'm sure it was a coincidence that the little series of robberies I'd suffered locally ceased during that time. Robbery is of course seen as a more serious offence.
For the minor public order offences I've seen the civil law used to good effect. One particular tool I like is the ASBI (Anti Social Behaviour Injunction) which despite the fancy handle is just a civil injunction. This can however come with a power of arrest if the civil judge decrees.
It would appear from what I've read that the Leicestershire council had taken over the lead on the Pilkington case and gone down the proportionate route by first getting an ABC (Anti-Social Behaviour Contract) signed by some young people. This is basically just the first step to getting an ASBO where conduct is challenged and a contract signed where they promise to behave and not contravene certain conditions like throwing stones etc. The local authority was in the process of getting things done as an ASBI was also granted but this was after the suicides. They were actually getting there and I think the orders in place may have helped. Perhaps the local police should have put their remarks about the criminal justice system more bluntly.
I would assume an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) was not sought as this would have meant researching and compiling a massive pack of incidents and statements to put before the magistrates court. These are somewhat time consuming to say the least.
Let me give you an example of when my local authority sought an ASBI. A young man came onto one of my estates and abused one of the caretakers threatening to hit him. The caretaker only knew his first name, so things were discussed at the joint ASB meeting. Yours truly puts forward the likely suspect and supplies an address and police image. I'm set for an investigation knowing full well that the lads friends would back him and it's the caretakers word against them, CPS would say unrealistic chance of conviction = No Further Action.
The ASB manager who I've worked with for years is a good bloke knows this too well. He wants to protect his staff and is committed to getting an ASBI. I supply a few bits and pieces he requires, he gets a statement and their legal department get an injunction. The result being said individual is banned from the estate for 12 months WITH A POWER OF ARREST for me should I catch him. I was convinced he would breach it but he didn't or not to my knowledge. I was still on his case but when I spoke to him he saw this as a stronger punishment than if we'd gone down the criminal route, even if we'd got a conviction. The caretaker was happy too as he'd been supported by his employer.
I should just add that I worked with a very much "can do" authority that did actually allocate many resources to ASB. They had better vehicles, better kit and better administration back up than I could ever muster.
I suppose it depends on the judge who sits in the county court. I'm not so sure that they would be keen to grant injunctions in similar circumstances against juveniles. Civil route is definitely the way forwards. Lets just get an injunction to ban travelling criminals from being in certain areas where they've been caught doing crime. They can then be arrested and placed in front of a civil judge to explain why they breached their order.
But we shouldn't even be contemplating the civil law should we? Shows how badly things have gone. Tough On Crime Mmmm ..