Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Anti-social measures 'not enough'

Home Secretary Theresa May tours St George's Estate in Hulme, Manchester, with police and local residents

Government plans to enable residents to force police to take action over anti-social behaviour after three separate incidents or five complaints are not good enough, a victims' group has said.

Victims deserve to be taken seriously as soon as they make a report to police, Victim Support said.

It follows high-profile cases such as that of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, in 2007 following 10 years of sustained abuse.

Home Secretary Theresa May insisted her plans to tear up anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) and replace them with simpler, quicker and more flexible measures would give the public confidence that when they call the police action will be taken.

But Javed Khan, chief executive of Victim Support, said: "Victims deserve to be taken seriously as soon as they make a report to the police.

"Waiting until a similar incident has been reported three times or by five people is not good enough."

Under the plans in the Government's white paper, police will be required to investigate any incident reported by at least five people, or any three separate complaints by the same person.

A new Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) will also be brought in to ban an individual from particular activities or places and civil Crime Prevention Injunctions (CPI) will be brought in to give agencies an immediate power to protect victims and communities by stopping bad behaviour before it escalates.

The lower standard of proof for civil orders such as the CPI means they can be put in place in days or even hours.

Police will also be given dispersal powers to order someone who has committed, or is likely to commit, anti-social behaviour to leave an area and not return for up to 48 hours.

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