Monday, 13 July 2009

Public given powers to check local action on anti-social behaviour

Getting help tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) and seeing what has been done in your area is now even easier thanks to a new website launched today by the Home Secretary Alan Johnson.

The ASB Action website is part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring those suffering harassment or intimidation feel confident they know who to turn to. The website allows the public to find the person or team in their area who can tackle local problems with anti-social behaviour.

The same interactive website also includes the latest data showing what public perceptions of anti-social behaviour are in each area and which of the many powers available to hit back at yobbish behaviour are being used. It even allows them to compare their local area with others across the country meaning they can demand further action if not enough is being done.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:

“No one should assume anti-social behaviour is a problem they should have to live with.

“Giving the public easy access to support and ways of holding authorities to account when they are not doing well enough is vital if we are to give the public confidence that tough action is being taken on antisocial behaviour.

“We have given local areas a raft of tools and powers to tackle this problem and many areas have done excellent work, but local people expect action and now every member of the public can see what is being done.”

The data listed on the website includes the latest information on the number of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) issued.

As part of wider and ongoing work with local partnerships across the country the Home Office has agreed to prioritise 16 local partnerships to support them in tackling anti-social behaviour, increasing the use of ASB powers and in lowering perceptions of anti-social behaviour.

The ASB Action Squad, formed by the Home Office, will be working closely with these and other areas to ensure they are fully supported and have the expertise to use all the powers at their disposal in a way that responds to the needs and concerns of local people. The priority areas have been chosen because they have low use of tools and powers and high public perception of ASB.

Overall the British Crime Survey shows that the proportion of people who think there is a problem with anti-social behaviour in their area has fallen since 2002, thanks in large part to the increased use and effectiveness of the tools and powers we have introduced.

Councils and the police now have more powers to deal with anti-social behaviour than ever before:

- the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 gave the police and other; authorities powers to issue ASBOs and introduced parenting orders;

- the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 gave police the right to disperse crowds of people in areas where anti-social behaviour is a problem, and also gave landlords the right to evict tenants who persistently engage in such behaviour; and

- the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 gave police the power to close premises which are regularly being used by drug dealers and users.

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