British Prime Minister Tony Blair today hailed the government’s controversial anti-social behaviour orders as “immensely positive.” Asbos, as the dispersal orders are known in Britain, were introduced in 1999 to try to control juvenile delinquency. Increasingly, hooliganism is viewed as a serious threat to public peace across the country, reports the U.K. Guardian. Blair said, “For many people, anti-social behaviour is probably one of the most important things that affect their lives. It doesn’t always get the headlines but if you’ve got really difficult people living next door or down the street … if you’ve got groups of young people misbehaving … it makes life absolute hell.”
The number of Asbos orders by police agencies have doubled in the past year. British Home Office experts will be dispatched around the country to encourage reluctant local authorities to use the orders. Asbos, which criminalise formerly legal activities such as standing on street corners for those they are imposed on, have become one of the government’s flagship measures. They target “yob” culture in particular–the slang for teenagers dressed in ostentatious designer clothing who band together to raise hell.