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Anti-social behaviour 'must end'

Strong community action must be used to make anti-social behaviour "unusual, abnormal and something to stand up to", Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

In an address to a neighbourhood centre in London, Mrs May claimed that it was time for people to stop "tolerating" anti-social behaviour.

Outlining plans to get rid of the Labour government's "gimmick-laden approach", she said strong, local action is needed to tackle the problems and a "sense of personal and social responsibility" needs to be re-established.

She said: "We must turn the system on its head. There is no magic Whitehall lever we can pull simply to stop anti-social behaviour. No magic button to press or tap to turn to stop the flow of misery. The solution to your community's problems will not come from officials sitting in the Home Office working on the latest national action plan."

Speaking at the Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre in Southwark, London, Mrs May said: " We need to make anti-social behaviour what it once was - unusual, abnormal and something to stand up to - instead of what it has become: frequent, normal and tolerated. Success will be measured by how successful we are at cutting crime and anti-social behaviour - no more and no less."

She said: "Anti-social behaviour still blights lives, wrecks communities and provides a pathway to criminality. It might sometimes feel like an unwinnable battle but it's not. There is nothing inevitable about crime and there is nothing inevitable about anti-social behaviour. By coming together, and only by coming together, we can win this battle."

The new proposals include incentives for unemployed people to make work pay, regaining discipline in schools by putting teachers back in control of their classrooms and encouraging young people to take responsibility through National Citizen Service.

Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson defended Asbos, saying they made huge contributions towards tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. He said: "The Home Secretary demonstrates a lack of understanding about the powers already available to the police. As we saw in the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington, it was the failure to use the powers available to the police that caused the problem, not the absence of powers themselves."

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Edens, of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said simplifying the tools and powers available to frontline officers will make it easier for them to do what works best.

He said: "The police service recognises that all individuals and communities have a right to live their lives free from intimidation and harassment. We also recognise that anti-social behaviour cannot be solved by public services alone. Society requires confident and resilient communities where people feel safe."


From Belfast Telegraph