» Thursday, October 28, 2004

Anti-Social Behaviour

The Prime Minister’s Official Spokesman (PMOS) advised journalists that the Prime Minister would be attending an event this afternoon, together with David Blunkett, Hazel Blears and Lord Falconer, to mark the first anniversary of the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan. The Prime Minister would be making a speech to members of local agencies and communities in which he would set out new ASB policy elements, particularly in terms of strengthening the use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and Fixed Penalty Notices. The Home Secretary would also announce that fifty communities across the country, as ‘Together Action Areas’, were set to receive extra help to tackle anti-social behaviour. These areas included Cardiff, Exeter, Coventry and Middlesbrough. Eventually all corners of England and Wales would be covered. New research showed that there had been 2,600 ASBOs issued in the last year alone – double the number of the previous four years. There had also been more than 400 dispersal orders and 150 crack-house closure orders. Moreover, at least 100,000 ASB cases had been dealt with in the last year alone. The Prime Minister would say that whilst the new figures were heartening, “until action is taken in every community where it is needed – we can’t rest. We haven’t defeated this problem. Not by any means. But we have shown together what can be done”.

Asked why action was being taken particularly in the fifty communities being announced today, the PMOS said that as local authorities and other agencies gradually got used to the fact that there were powers available to them to use to tackle anti-social behaviour, they were beginning to find out how effective they could be. The doubling of the number of cases in the last year showed that they were a very useful and popular measure. That said, however, we recognised that it was necessary to put in extra support mechanisms, such as academies for practitioners, new ASB response courts as well as extra funding. The purpose of the ASB event today was to bring together 650 practitioners from across the country who would themselves have ideas as to how these measures could be expanded. The important thing was for people to learn that the powers were there, learn from the experience of using them, know that they could be effective and spread best practice.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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