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Policing Public Drugs Nuisance Through The Anti-Social Behaviour Legislation: Questions and Contradictions

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2011 Pages: 323-341
Jennifer Robyn Ward
Date Published
December 2011
19 pages
This London-based study examined law enforcement use of anti-social behaviour orders and dispersal and banning orders.
This paper reports findings from a London-based study and provides evidence of rigorous law enforcement activity being enacted in drives to alleviate local areas of public drugs nuisance, namely the use of anti-social behavior orders (ASBOs) and dispersal and banning orders, as well as the closure of 'crack houses'. The paper acknowledges these legislative tools were necessary to deal with the real life problems of visible drugs nuisance that had grown up in some communities, but it draws attention to the way these policing responses put already vulnerable, ill and highly disadvantaged drugs users at greater risk of marginalization than they already experienced. Plus, the punitive reach of banning orders in the form of ASBOs and street-level policing which centers on minor drugs crimes enhances the criminalization of low-level drugs offenders and heightened the likelihood of imprisonment. The author suggests a tension exists between community policing and the removal of visible public drug nuisance through pro-arrest strategies, and the wider government drugs policy which encourages multi-agency working to channel problem drugs users into appropriate treatment settings to assist in tackling drugs crime lifestyles. (Published Abstract)