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Government

Crime bill

As outlined in the Queen’s Speech a new Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill proposes new powers to tackle antisocial behaviour, make forced marriage illegal and improve professional standards of the police.

According to the Coalition, the Bill will:

condense 19 existing measures to deal with antisocial behaviour into six powers, giving victims the ability to it is claimed ensure action is taken and a greater say in the sanction an offender receives;
making it a criminal offence to have a dog that is dangerously out of control in a private property (extending the current legislation which covers public places);
tackle the use of illegal firearms by gangs and organised crime groups, by increasing the maximum penalty for illegal importation/exportation of firearms and create a new offence of possession for sale or transfer;
provide the new College of Policing with powers to set standards for the police in England and Wales; and extend the powers and remit of the Independent Police Complaints Commission to ensure all serious allegations against police officers and staff are investigated robustly and independently.

Home Secretary Theresa May, pictured, said: “Police reform is working and crime continues to fall. We have swept away central targets, reduced bureaucracy and introduced Police and Crime Commissioners to make the police more accountable. Today we are delivering on our pledges to give victims of antisocial behaviour a stronger voice, further cut crime and improve the relationship between the public and police.”

Speaking for Labour, Gloria De Piero, Shadow Home Office Minister, on the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Bill, said: “This is a Government with no answers to the big challenges facing Britain. Instead of supporting people suffering from the blight of anti-social behaviour (ASB) the Government is proposing to weaken powers and make victims wait for the help they deserve.

“Theresa May proposes to abolish the ASBO and replace it with the weaker IPNA. Breach of an ASBO was a criminal offence. Breach of the new IPNA will not be. The new Community remedy must not be a substitute for court action in serious cases and the Government has failed to heed the advice of the police, dog charities and other campaigners to introduce the Dog Control notice which would help to prevent attacks. Local authorities and enforcement agencies need powers to intervene in cases where they feel they can prevent incidents.

“We also know that too many people are still waiting too long for their anti-social behaviour complaints to be dealt with. The Home Secretary’s proposed community trigger is not the answer. Recommending that people have to wait until five complaints have been made before action does not reflect the misery that can be caused by ASB. The Home Secretary promised the community trigger would get tough on repeat anti-social behaviour but in its pilot areas where it has been in operation for almost a year now it has hardly been activated at all. FOI data from the pilots show in Manchester there were 25,149 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour yet the community trigger was only activated 3 times. In Brighton & Hove there were 12,869 incidents of anti-social behaviour and the community trigger was activated just five times whilst in Richmond it hasn’t been activated at all.

“The community trigger isn’t the answer. Communities need Labour’s 24-hour guarantee to ensure a rapid response to complaints. The Government needs to be on the side of the victims of anti-social behaviour not making it more difficult for them to get the help they need. Weakening powers and delaying action is no way to deal with such a serious issue.”


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