Drunken yobs behaving “like occupying armies” are turning town centres into no-go areas after dark, the chairman of an influential committee of MPs says.
Conservative MP Edward Leigh said anti-social behaviour in England and Wales was costing £3.4bn a year.
The public accounts committee said the Home Office had not researched which anti-social behaviour measures brought in since 1997 were most effective.
But the government said tackling the problem remained “a top priority”.
A survey by the Youth Justice Board (YJB) found that many professionals on teams set up to tackle tearaways had concerns about the Government’s flagship anti-social behaviour measure.The in-depth survey also found 49 per cent of under-18s breached their Asbos.
The report concluded: “High levels of breach had led some sentencers to question how much impact Asbos were having on the behaviour of individual young people.
“A considerable number of respondents alluded to the potential for the order to become ‘glamorous’.”
One magistrate told the YJB’s year-long research programme:
“It’s being used as a badge of honour.”
Parents and carers of young people handed the controversial orders said they were seen as a “diploma” and boosted “street cred”.
“Some of the friends are left out now because they’re not on an Asbo,” said the mother of three young men who were all on Asbos.
“I know a boy that’s hell-bent on getting an Asbo because he feels left out.”
Asbos were introduced by the Government in 1999.
They allow magistrates to impose conditions on a person’s behaviour in a bid to stop them acting in an anti-social way. Breaching the order can lead to jail.
But a district judge told researchers that youngsters who breached their orders were often not being properly punished.
“The danger is that you would increase the (prison) population enormously if we… enforced Asbos fully,” the judge said.