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Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 535: debated on Monday 7 November 2011

The Government are committed to tackling the corrosive impact of antisocial behaviour. We are ensuring that the police and other agencies have faster more effective powers, that complaints are dealt with more responsibly and that the public have much clearer information about incidents occurring in their local area.

I thank the Minister for his answer, but constituents and local police have raised with me their frustration at the difficulties that local police have in dispersing groups of antisocial individuals, who cause so much misery for their victims by their actions. The Home Office has consulted on giving front-line police the power to direct antisocial individuals and groups away from specific areas, but will the Minister update the House today on whether those proposals will be implemented and, if so, when?

I thank my hon. Friend for her question. I certainly recognise the issues that many communities face from antisocial behaviour and the fact it perhaps was not previously taken as seriously as it should have been. We propose to combine the most effective elements of the various dispersal powers available to the police into a single simpler police power to direct people away from an area where they are committing or are likely to commit antisocial behaviour. We intend to legislate on the new powers at the earliest opportunity.

As the Home Secretary has acknowledged, vandalism, antisocial behaviour and theft from war memorials repulse everybody, particularly in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday. Given that much of that activity is related to the illegal metal trade, why will Ministers not bring forward legislation right away? What is the hold-up?

I welcome the hon. Lady to her position on the Front Bench. I certainly agree with her that the attacks on war memorials in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday are absolutely despicable. I am sure that the whole House will join me in condemning those shocking crimes. The Home Secretary has mentioned a number of steps that the Government are already taking. We are working with the Association of Chief Police Officers to put in place an action plan. Steps are already under way and we are working with other Departments to take further action as well.