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Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 716: debated on Monday 20 June 2022

The beating crime plan set out the Government’s enduring commitment to driving down antisocial behaviour. Home Office statutory guidance supports local areas to make effective use of the powers available to them. That includes advice on the community trigger—an important safety net for victims —and we have also provided funding for local initiatives to tackle antisocial behaviour through the safer streets fund.

As the Home Secretary will be aware from her recent visit to Keighley, where she met our hard-working neighbourhood policing team, antisocial behaviour is unfortunately an undeniable problem and is having a detrimental impact on many businesses, residents and those going about their day-to-day lives. I was therefore delighted to see the Government launch round 4 of the safer streets fund with a specific focus on antisocial behaviour. Can my hon. Friend confirm that this will help drive a positive change in Keighley and beyond?

I very much thank my hon. Friend for his question. I know that my colleague the Home Secretary very much enjoyed her visit, and we all wish to thank the neighbourhood policing team for all that they do. We are aware of the impact that antisocial behaviour has, and that is why this Government have introduced round 4 of the safer streets fund, as my hon. Friend said. That is a practical set of initiatives to tackle that behaviour, and it includes improved street lighting, increased CCTV and training to change attitudes and behaviours, all of which tackle antisocial behaviour. I expect to see some real change in his area.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for her response. Unfortunately, antisocial behaviour continues to blight my residents in Wednesbury, Oldbury and Tipton, nowhere more so than in the Laburnum Road area of Tipton which has seen a spike in reports. Will my hon. Friend touch a little more on the cross-working that she is doing, particularly with stakeholders in the Black Country, such as West Midlands police and Sandwell Council, to ensure we really do have a community-led approach to tackling antisocial behaviour?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right that this is a multi-agency and community approach. Yes, of course, the police are responsible for tackling and dealing with antisocial behaviour, which is why we are providing £695 million funding to West Midlands police, an increase of £40 million. The force has also been able to recruit over 1,000 additional officers. It is also the case that we have provided the police with additional powers. It is vital that the police work with their local police and crime commissioner and other agencies with responsibility for tackling this behaviour.

In Bristol, we have a successful e-scooter rental pilot, but we also see people using e-scooters illegally and using rental e-scooters on the pavement. That can be very scary for people trying to walk along the pavement while that is happening. I know the Government are looking to legalise and regulate private ownership, but how will the Home Office team work with the Department for Transport team to ensure the police have the powers to stop them being misused in a way that scares people who are just trying to go about their daily business?

The hon. Lady speaks of an issue that both she and I have some experience of—when I was in the Department for Transport, she was my shadow. The Department is introducing new legislation to deal with some of these issues. Until that is on the statute book, however, it is the responsibility of the police to deal with the issue, and they have clear guidance: riding an e-scooter on the pavement is illegal in all circumstances. We welcome new forms of transport, but of course they must be introduced safely and ridden responsibly.

The hon. Member for Keighley (Robbie Moore) is right to ask the Government what they are doing to tackle antisocial behaviour. In his constituency total recorded crime went up by 59% from 2011-12 to 2020-21, which highlights the Conservative Government’s track record, a damning one at that. No wonder crime is up. Action on antisocial behaviour is down since his Government took out 7,000 neighbourhood police officers—a cut of 30%—so the 1,000 the Minister just mentioned does not quite cut it. Will the Minister tell the House why the Government do not believe in neighbourhood policing, as they have clearly given up on it with the cuts they have made?

The hon. Lady is completely wrong in the contention she puts forward to the House. This Government introduced the beating crime plan, which puts tackling antisocial behaviour at its heart. This is the Government who are increasing funding to the police, bringing more officers on to the streets to tackle this and other issues. I remind her that her area in West Yorkshire has 589 additional officers and we have increased funding by £31 million. It is for local police and crime commissioners, including the Labour Mayor of West Yorkshire, to use that funding and the powers they have been given to tackle this issue.