Many local councils and social landlords working with the police are tackling anti-social behaviour effectively and supporting victims. Latest figures from the British Crime Survey show there has been a fall in peoples perception of anti-social behaviour as a local problem over the last six years.
But statistics are cold comfort to victims and Ministers are determined that everyone across the country should be working together in driving down anti social behaviour and driving up peoples confidence.
Todays announcement is about making sure support and training goes further and deeper across communities.
John Denham and John Healey are therefore calling on frontline staff from community safety teams to housing officers across England to make full use of the powers and tools already available, while giving more support to residents and community activists.
This drive, which is being funded by a 10million package, will target 130 local councils.
Among the measures it will support are:
letting local residents know the rights and how to report anti-social behaviour through targeted leaflets, regional events and information for local media;extra training for frontline staff such as ASB co-ordinators, police and neighbourhood wardens;training to help residents and community champions challenge police and councils and shape the approach to tackling anti-social behaviour; andextra funding for local work to tackle anti-social behaviour such as environmental clean up campaigns, supporting community led projects to engage young people and creating more attractive public spaces.
Communities Secretary John Denham said:
Were making sure millions of people know how to report anti-social behaviour and when they do, front-line staff are better equipped to deal with any problems. We want to spur more action, faster action and more effective results so people can be confident that problems are being tackled and stopped. We want people to know they are not alone – government, their council and police are on their side, whether its tackling nightmare neighbours, aggressive gangs or mindless vandals.
It might be a minority causing harm and misery for the majority but we are clear – this wont be tolerated. Were backing our communities and our neighbourhoods. To help this were giving the opportunity to thousands of community champions for support and training so they can ensure councils and police deliver, using all the powers they have and doing all they can.
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:
The public rightly expects to live in neighbourhoods free from the corrosive effects of intimidation and harassment. They want to see both local authorities and police using the powers they have been given in a way that is effective and responsive.
Some areas need the extra help we will be giving them to ensure that anti-social behaviour is tackled not tolerated.
It is only through successful partnership working, between local and central Government, the police, social landlords and the broader community, that we can continue to reduce public concern over anti-social behaviour.
At the same time todays announcement includes new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour for people living in social housing. This includes:
ensuring tenants are supported to challenge landlords, councils and the police where they are failing or not acting quickly enough;
a new housing anti-social behaviour action squad to work with landlords on the ground to spread and embed good practice;
new guidance for social landlords to provide them with a detailed understanding of how to use their powers effectively; and
a revised, Respect Standard, on tackling anti-social behaviour, which will be become binding on social landlords for the first time.
Housing Minister John Healey said:
Our homes and estates should be places where people like living and feel safe, but in some areas a small number of people are ruining that and where this happens we need to take rapid action. Thats why were making sure councils and housing associations arent just responsible for bricks and mortar, but that they can also influence the quality of life in local neighbourhoods. Theyre also responsible for cracking down on anti-social behaviour and have powers to do so.
But itll be up to tenants too, to get involved if their community is being blighted by anti social behaviour. As a result of the new measures, tenants will have the power to hold their landlords to account and trigger quick and effective action when they think its needed and its important that people know about and make use of these powers. Social landlords have the powers to crack down on anti-social behaviour and I am backing tenants in wanting them used to the full.
This action builds on the recent pledge by the Home Secretary to crack down on ASBO breaches, drive up the performance of local areas in tackling anti-social behaviour and provide better support for victims.
Todays announcement also ties in with the Justice Seen Justice Done campaign, a key part of which is about ensuring the public know who to contact, what their rights are and how to get information on tackling anti-social behaviour, which in turn helps build their confidence in the criminal justice system.
The confidence target reflects the fact that dealing with local crime and anti-social behaviour issues is a joint matter for the police and councils. Government is today providing support and funding to councils and will continue to support police forces, ensuring they both work together to keep neighbourhoods safe and confident.
As announced in the Queens Speech the Government will legislate to protect communities by ensuring that parents take responsibility for their childrens antisocial behaviour and by tackling youth gang crime.
Also the Department for Children, Schools and Families are putting record investment into positive activities for young people, particularly targeted on neighbourhoods with high levels of anti-social behaviour and crime. They are also doing more to provide support to young people to address the causes of poor behaviour, alongside enforcement action.