And so we can expect the dawning of a new age of responsible drinking, following the introduction of so-called 'drink ASBOs'. Well, probably not.
You see, the problem is that ASBOs are merely a way of delaying action. In order to get an ASBO, you must have committed an offence, right? If you haven't, society has no right to stigmatise you, does it? All right, so you've committed an offence. The police find you and arrest you, charging you with the offence. So, instead of prosecuting you and punishing you, you get an ASBO. Breaching the terms of the ASBO is an offence, for which you will be prosecuted. Alright, I'm beginning to lose sight of the point of this arrangement.
Let's see now. Someone guilty of a criminal act is caught and given an ASBO. That person then needs to be monitored to ensure that they don't breach its terms. Police will be needed to do that, although PCSOs and CCTV cameras will be there in support. There will doubtless be a new offence linked to serving someone with an ASBO, placing the onus on publicans and their staff to be able to identify individuals.
It strikes me that it would be much easier to just charge an offender and have a formal process for punishment and rehabilitation instead. Apparently, we have such a thing already, known as a justice system, staffed with magistrates, judges and probation officers, with big buildings called courts and prisons.
Unfortunately, once again, this Government has gone for the complex and probably ineffectual, instead of using the array of tools that already exist. They're called laws, lest we forget...