Police given 24 hour deadline to investigate complaints of anti-social behaviour
PUBLISHED May 22, 2012
Residents will be able to report anti-social behaviour online, over the telephone or in writing and the police will have to respond to their concerns within 24 hours.
One of the six new simplified powers will be Community Protection Notices, which can be issued for anti-social behaviour. The notices could be used to fine householders who are found to be leaving rubbish in their gardens. They would be given a £100 on-the-spot fine or be taken to court where the maximum fine would be £2,500.
The so-called "community trigger" is to be introduced by Theresa May amid concerns that many incidences of anti-social behaviour are repeatedly reported before police take action.
Local communities not receiving an adequate police response will be able to take their complaints to new police commissioners who will be able to force a more adequate investigation.
A new anti-social behaviour white paper is to be published today which will set out plans for six new sanctions to allow police and local authorities to deal with low-level criminality or nuisance behaviour. The new "streamlined" powers replace 19 previous sanctions covering everything from dropping litter to controlling dogs and dispersing yobs.
A Home Office source said: "Some people don't bother to report anti-social behaviour as they have little faith in anything being done to deal with the problem.
"These new plans will directly address this continuing problem. Those involved in making life a misery for others will not get away with it. Police and local agencies will be given a set of six new fast and flexible powers to make the message clear: anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated."
The new community trigger plans will initially be piloted in three areas - Manchester, Brighton and West Lindsey.
Ministers insist that the scheme will help crackdown on anti-social behaviour but Labour have accused the Government of watering down the criminal sanctions against prolific offenders.
They claim that those breaching anti-social behaviour orders will no longer face prison.
Gloria del Piero, a shadow Home Office minister, said: "The Government are weakening the powers police have to tackle antisocial behaviour. These measures are a weak rebrand, with a breach of the order not even resulting in a criminal record."
"People will be bemused that it will take three separate complaints, or five different households, before getting a response. All complaints should be dealt with, and quickly. People suffering from antisocial behaviour don't want to wait until the Government's slow trigger is released."
The new anti-social behaviour sanctions are part of a wider Government initiative to tackle low-level crime.
Ministers across Government are also focussing on new initiatives to target 120,000 problem families who are blamed for causing the majority of trouble.
Louise Casey, Tony Blair's former respect csar, is co-ordinating the scheme which will see experts intervene by developing a detailed plan for each of the families to help them overcome their problems.
The 29 areas most affected by gang and youth crime are also being targeted with intensive help in the wake of last summer's riots.