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Antisocial Behaviour

Volume 719: debated on Monday 5 September 2022

Antisocial behaviour is a menace to society. This Government have committed to stamping it out everywhere that it occurs. In our communities, we have already ensured that local agencies have the flexible tools to tackle it through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Of course, people are not just subject to abuse offline; despicable instances such as the racism online following the Euro 2020 final are why this Government will also tackle harmful content online through the Online Safety Bill.

Portsmouth police go above and beyond to keep communities safe as I saw at first hand when I joined them on patrol at the Camber and the Hotwalls last month. However, they face an uphill battle following a 10% drop in the region’s police community support officers and police officers since 2015. Will the Minister confirm today when the Conservatives will finally get tough on crime and give my local force the resources that it so desperately needs?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been very clear about ensuring that, with the police uplift programme, there are 20,000 more police officers, and that is making a huge difference. Local police and crime commissioners are responsible for working with local authorities to ensure that they tackle antisocial behaviour locally, so I think that the hon. Gentleman should direct his comments to his local police and crime commissioner.

The boundaries between antisocial behaviour, gangs, drugs, and knife crime are increasingly blurred. An unwelcome recent trend in my constituency of Gloucester is that of an increase in young people’s involvement. None of us wants to see children criminalised, but we need to act, not least in order to protect other young people. Can the Minister arrange a meeting where best practice on how to tackle this growing problem can be shared with many of us in this Chamber who have similar problems?

I know the work that my hon. Friend has done to try to reduce antisocial behaviour within his own community, and I know that he has been working hard. He supports violence reduction units. There is a huge amount of money and investment going into sharing best practice among forces to ensure that we also protect these individuals. We know the huge problems that county lines are creating up and down the country, and there has been a massive investment in breaking county lines on which this Government have been leading the way.

While the Conservative party has spent the summer infighting, our country and our communities have been left fearful about the plight of antisocial behaviour that is rife across Britain. Because of a lack of legislative support, families and the most vulnerable in our communities are left suffering from fireworks and nuisance into the early hours of the morning without any help, including in my constituency of Bradford West. Car theft has gone up, burglary has gone up, individual theft has gone up, car crime has gone up, and dangerous driving has gone up, and all the while families are feeling unsafe to walk the streets of Britain. The Government have simply gone and are nowhere to be seen. Can the Minister explain why, after 12 years in Government, the Conservatives have failed so badly?

I am astonished. The reality is that antisocial behaviour in the year to March 2022 is down 37%. [Interruption.] My hon. Friends may also be intrigued to hear that, nationally, burglary is down 24%, neighbourhood crime by 33%, and vehicle offences by 28%. That has been made possible by the commitment the Government have made to increasing police numbers by more than 20,000. Perhaps the answer is that Conservative police and crime commissioners deliver for their communities.