The first major study into the impact of antisocial behaviour orders (Asbo) is being conducted by Kingston University’s newly appointed professor of law.

Julia Fionda has completed a pilot study which adds to the controversy surrounding Asbos by suggesting the orders can have a harmful effect on young offenders.

The study also raises questions about whether Asbos may lead their recipients deeper into criminality.

Professor Fionda, who undertook the pilot study with Dr Rachel Manning of the University of the West of England and Robert Jago of the University of Surrey, believes Asbos could be counter-productive.

She said: “Since the year dot teenagers have hung around together on street corners.

"But what sort of adults are they going to turn into if Asbos restrict their physical movement in public places?

"It can impact on the growing up process and the way young adults learn social skills.”

Professor Fionda and her colleagues interviewed young people along with their parents, who they contacted through a youth offending team in the south of England.

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