Coming in the wake of Theresa May's announcement of a pulling of powers for tackling Anti Social Behaviour last July, the Coalition's decision to continue with the previous government plans to introduce the Gangbo came as something of a surprise to ASB Practitioners.
But Gang Injunctions are in force as of yesterday, 31st January. Watch as local authorities race to achieve the first in a County Court near you!
Gangs are a problem in some of our towns and cities Birmingham being the best known, and indeed the powers were brought in as a direct result of a case that Council lost in the Court of Appeal.
But this is a further example of a gap being plugged by yet a further piece of legislation, which will result in a further round of litigation as lawyers seek to establish how it is best interpreted.And there may well have been better ways of plugging this perceived gap than bringing in another remedy, another tool for the Housing Officers and Courts to work out how to use.
The order is only available to Police and Local Authorities not Housing Associations (HAs), as the other powers are.Again, a distinction that doesn't necessarily help with their use. Why exclude HAs?
The remedy exists to ease the path to obtain orders to curtail those that choose to join gangs anecdotally to stop them wearing gang colours, walking with dogs, crossing into rival areas etc to obtain a civil restraining order as opposed to an ASBO which leads to criminalisation. However the remedy for breach is the same imprisonment.
If the complaint made against ASBOs is that they are breached too often it highly unlikely that the gang member with the badge of an injunction (as opposed to the ASBO badge) will be any more likely to be deterred from breaching.
New legislation is expected to seriously reduce the ASBO remedies available to public authorities later on this year on the back of the Home Secretary announcements. It will be interesting to see if the Gangbo survives.
There's been a lot of comment locally and nationally on the proposals:we publish a round up of it below:
News Round Up: Gangbos
Police in England and Wales are to be given new powers from today to deal with gangs. "Gangbos" will allow police to ban someone from meeting groups of other people, going into rival gang areas or wearing clothes that are associated with a certain group. Is it a good use of the law or a heavy handed approach from a government which promised to improve civil liberties? Director of policy at Liberty, Isabella Sankey and Kirk Dawes who works as a mediator between gangs in Birmingham discuss whether these measures could work.
News and videos:
Powers to restrict the movements of people accused of gang membership have come into force in England and Wales. Gang injunctions can be used to ban people from certain places or from walking aggressive dogs.
The powers are similar to anti-social behaviour orders and were conceived by the former Labour government after appeals from councils for help.
Teenage news: New 'gangbo' gang injunctions aim to cut violence
Gang members can be banned from wearing certain colours or going into a rival's area from today. New gang injunctions can be handed out to over-18s who are suspected of causing trouble in England and Wales. Some people are calling them "gangbos" because they are similar to ASBOs and anyone who breaks their terms can be jailed.
Human Rights blog:
Inside Housing News:
Powers have come into force that could ban gang members from entering certain areas, wearing gang colours and going out in public with dangerous dogs. Police and local authorities will be able to apply for the gang injunctions, which will be issued by a county court and last up to two years.
Gang injunctions just criminalise poor communities. Huddersfield Examiner Councillor opinion piece:
Darren Andre, who works with young people not in education employment or training (NEETs) in Huddersfield through the Sporting Pride initiative, said existing legislation was sufficient to tackle gang problems.Back to Blog