After the Asbo: Extending control over young people's use of public space in England and Wales

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The concept of anti-social behaviour became prominent in the UK in the 1990s when the Labour government constructed it as an important policy challenge and deployed a series of high profile interventions against it. But anti-social behaviour faded significantly from the political agenda once Tony Blair's premiership ended in 2007 and its diminution appeared complete when the most high profile of interventions, the Anti-social Behaviour Order or Asbo, was replaced by the more mundane-sounding Injunction in 2014. This commentary argues, however, that far from the anti-social behaviour control regime softening as government priorities shifted elsewhere, legislation passed in 2014, allied to technological innovation, has increased the potential for those whose presence is considered problematic to be ‘eliminated' from public spaces. This has particular significance for young people, whose discursive association with disorder and greater tendency to congregate in groups make them likely to be the targets of enhanced exclusionary practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)716-726
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Social Policy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2016


  • anti-social behaviour
  • dispersal
  • elimination
  • innovation
  • reform


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