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Antisocial behaviour

Volume 558: debated on Monday 11 February 2013

The Government have published a draft Bill that sets out measures that will put victims and communities at the heart of the response to antisocial behaviour. It includes the community trigger, which will give people the power to make agencies take persistent problems seriously; the community remedy, which will give victims a say in the punishment of offenders out of court; and faster, more effective powers to enable front-line professionals better to protect the public.

Much of the antisocial behaviour experienced by my constituents in Norwich is associated with excess alcohol consumption. I welcome the new early morning restriction orders, but I urge the Government to end the abundant supply of pocket-money priced alcohol in response to their recent consultation on alcohol pricing.

My hon. Friend is right to remind the House that in October the Government introduced early morning restriction orders along with a provision on the charging of a late-night levy as part of a package of measures to deal with concerns that had been brought to our attention about alcohol licensing and consumption. He will know that the consultation on minimum unit pricing and other alcohol-related measures finished last week. We will consider properly the representations that we have received and make an announcement in due course.

Under the Government’s new policy on antisocial behaviour, people will have to complain three times. Why on earth should people have to wait so long before receiving help?

This is frustrating for me, because we have explained this policy so painstakingly and carefully, and the concept is so simple, but let me have one more go. We want every council in the country and other relevant agencies to respond straight away whenever problems are brought to their attention. However, it has been brought to our attention, including in a lot of areas with Labour councils, that people keep bringing complaints, particularly lower-level complaints, about individual incidents that do not always warrant immediate attention. We want to ensure that there is some measure of cumulative impact. That is why we have put this measure in place, and it is popular. In the pilot schemes, people are running with it. I commend it to councils around the country, including Labour-run councils.