We have received a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following:
1. Does the Home Office have figures for numbers of people who have signed ABCs by year since these came into being?
2. If so, please provide these.
3.Are these available by local authority areas and police force areas - please provide if so
4.Are police forces and local authorities:
a) required to send reports on ABC usage to the Department? If yes, how often and what is required?
b) requested to do so? If so, how often and what is requested?
c) and if no to a and b do forces and councils send information on usage voluntarily at their own initiative?
5. Has the Department endorsed the use of ABCs? If yes, please indicate where and how and when this has been done.
6. Before doing so, or since, has the Department sought any legal advice or view concerning the legal status of these Agreements, and concerning the human rights implications of use of these agreements?
7. What legislative basis exists for their use by local authorities and police forces?
We released the following information on 26 October 2011:
1) The Home Office holds some statistical information on ABCs (and Acceptable Behaviour Agreements) issued from October 2003 to September 2009, which was collected through voluntary surveys of Community Safety Partnerships (formerly called Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) ). The majority of this data was published in 2009 on the Home Office website:http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100413151441/http:/crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/asbos/asbos9.pdf
2) Please see the attached spreadsheet - A PDF Attachment linked below.
3) The statistical information contained in the attached spreadsheet Annex B is broken down according to: the CDRP area; geographical region; and police force area.
4) Police forces and local authorities are not required to send reports on ABCs to the Home Office. Between April 2003 and September 2009, the Home Office asked CDRPs to provide data voluntarily. From 01 October 2006, these returns were requested on a quarterly basis. The Home Office stopped requesting this data in September 2009. CDRPs have not subsequently submitted further data on their own initiative.
5) ABCs are recognised as part of the toolkit available to the police and other frontline practitioners to deal with anti-social behaviour. As such, the Home Office has previously provided high-level guidance to practitioners on key factors to bear in mind when drawing up an ABC, should they choose to use one (e.g. this document, published in 2003 http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100413151441/http://crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/asbos/asbos9.pdf
It is not for the Home Office to tell local areas when or how to use ABCs, but practitioners report that they can offer a useful and proportionate response to low-level incidents, giving perpetrators a chance to change their problem behaviour before more serious sanctions are considered.
7) ABCs have no specific statutory basis - they are an informal, voluntary agreement between an individual who has committed anti-social behaviour, and a local agency whose role includes protecting victims and communities from such behaviour.