Plan to name ASBO under-16s criticised

A SENIOR education official last night hit out at plans to name and shame youngsters who are served with anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs).

Councillor the Rev Ewan Aitken, education spokesman for the local authority umbrella group COSLA, said any attempts to replicate such moves in Scotland would "demonise" young people and do nothing to improve the behaviour of those who break the law.

Jack McConnell, the First Minister, has given his backing to the naming and shaming of under-16s served with ASBOs after seeing the strategy in action during a recent visit to Manchester.

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Under the initiative, local residents are given leaflets with photographs of ASBO offenders and a map of the area from which they are banned.

Labour may even include plans to extend the measure to under-16s in its next Holyrood election manifesto.

But Mr Aitken, a Labour councillor and executive member for education at Edinburgh City Council, said yesterday he would oppose any such move.

He told The Scotsman: "This would take us back to demonising kids. ASBOs are about changing behaviour, but this would only succeed in stigmatising children.

"It would be very difficult for them to change their behaviour if there were pictures of them everywhere, because people would inevitably label them. I think this would hinder, rather than help, the purpose of ASBOs."

During his visit to Manchester, Mr McConnell said it was time to get tough on young troublemakers.