Starting today, anyone who behaves "antisocially" while drunk can be banned from pubs, bars, and other public places in England and Wales for up to two years.
Many people in Britain believe that drastic policing like this must be used to change the culture of heavy drinking. But not everyone is on board with the latest crackdowns — or booze antisocial behavior orders (ASBO). One civil liberties activist says:
It will be jelly bean ASBO for sugared-up kids next. Surely it's time to call last orders on endless new legislation.
While this is the first time antisocial behavior orders will be handed out for public drunks, British courts have been using them to curb other bad behavior for some time now. So what else counts as anti-social behavior in the UK? Earlier this month, a man was given an animal ASBO after bees from his hives repeatedly stung the neighbors. The beekeeper was ordered to move his hives. And a magistrate judge gave another Brit an ASBO for throwing shopping carts outside a supermarket two or three times per week. The ASBO makes it criminal for the man to throw shopping carts going forward. That sounds about right.
Do you think this sort of targeted justice is the best way to solve societal problems like excessive alcohol consumption? Will telling a drunk that he can't go to pubs and bars for a couple of years change anything?