Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

'Anti-social victims' to get powers

Home Secretary Theresa May has unveiled plans to tackle anti-social behaviour

Communities blighted by anti-social behaviour will be able to force the police and authorities to take action under plans announced by Home Secretary Theresa May.

Under the proposal, victims who had been repeatedly ignored by police could compel officers to tackle yobs in their area.

Mrs May also announced that the widow of murdered father-of-three Garry Newlove will travel the country as the Government's "champion for active, safer communities".

She told the Conservative Party Conference that Helen Newlove, who was made a peer by David Cameron after the general election, will visit areas affected by anti-social behaviour.

The move to increase the public's power to force the authorities to take action follows the case of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and severely disabled daughter Francecca in October 2007 after suffering years of torment at the hands of yobs in Barwell, Leicestershire.

Despite receiving 33 calls regarding Ms Pilkington, officers from Leicestershire Constabulary only visited her eight times and no-one was ever prosecuted.

Mrs May told the party conference in Birmingham the new power will form part of the reform of anti-social behaviour laws to replace Labour's "alphabet soup" of orders, including Asbos.

She said: "The new sanctions will give real redress to victims who are let down by the system.

"Too often we hear stories of victims who are passed from pillar to post, from the police to environmental services to the housing department before being passed back to the police again.

"We hear about victims who call the police on dozens of occasions but aren't taken seriously and in many cases are ignored altogether. So as part of our reforms to anti-social behaviour powers, we will give victims and communities the right to force the authorities to take action where they fail to do so."