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Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 476: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent steps the Government have taken to tackle persistent antisocial behaviour offenders; (206409)

(2) what recent steps the Government has taken to work with local authorities to reduce antisocial behaviour.

Over the past 10 years this Government have introduced a wide range of tools and powers to tackle antisocial behaviour which are being used by practitioners to bring relief to communities across the country.

On 8 May we announced a number of new measures to tackle antisocial behaviour by the persistent minority who fail to respond to early interventions as identified by the National Audit Office. These are:

A crackdown on the most troublesome offenders to expose wider criminal behaviour, including benefit fraud, television license evasion, vehicle tax and insurance dodging and non-payment of council tax. Their antisocial behaviour will be the trigger for further investigation to find out if their car tax is up to date, or if they have a TV license, or pay their council tax. This will be done by spreading good practice such as that adopted by Essex police in Operation Leopard.

A joint review by the Home Office and the Department for Transport to look at ways to tackle ASB on public transport. We will consult the public, drivers and other transport staff on their views.

A new national Action Squad of ASB experts who will troubleshoot across the country to focus on targeting areas that are not using the antisocial behaviour measures available to them or where the perception of ASB is low. The public must not suffer needlessly while available remedies go unused. This is backed by £255,000 of new funding.

We have recently introduced measures in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 to close premises where there is serious and persistent antisocial behaviour which are due to be implemented next year. We have also issued new guidance on how to use the full range of the tools and powers available and to better protect victims and witnesses who take a stand against antisocial behaviour.

The Home Office works with local areas through regional Government offices providing funding through the Area-Based Grant. We also delivered 16 regional workshops nationally to help local practitioners make the best use of the available tools and powers. We will continue to encourage and support local areas in this way.