The long awaited changes to the ASBO system are now unveiled. According to this BBC article some changes are going to take place. The vital element to trigger police action is the amount of people who report the same problem. Now it needs 5 residents, who report the same problem. The principle of trigger remains the same. Residents get to report problems to their local SNT or landlord and the police then have to investigate the matter. So far I was not aware that a number of 5 reports is required to trigger an investigation, perhaps this threshold is something new.
It is my impression that so far the police could judge necessity by a most reported score but not by a minimum reported score. I shall bring that up at the next SNT ward panel meeting to ascertain whether the new policy has already trickled through to our local team.
Police will be able to hand out ‘on the spot punishment’ like removing noise making equipment or ask offenders to repair damage to property.
We will have to see how things pan out with planned cuts in policing numbers and that will be a very interesting point in the forthcoming discussions. The new measures include but are not exclusive to:
- Community triggers – where local agencies will be compelled to take action if five people from five different residences in the same neighbourhood have complained and no action has been taken, or the behaviour in question has been reported to the authorities by an individual three times, and no action has been taken
- Criminal Behaviour Orders – issued by the courts after conviction, the order would ban an individual from certain activities or places and require them to address their behaviour. A breach would incur a maximum five-year prison term
- Crime Prevention Injunctions – designed to nip bad behaviour in the bud before it escalates. The injunction would carry a civil burden of proof, making it quicker and easier to obtain than previous tools. For adults, breach of the injunction could mean they are imprisoned or fined. For under-18s a breach could be dealt with through curfews, supervision or detention
- Community Protection Orders – these are place-specific orders, bringing together a number of existing measures. There will be one for local authorities to stop persistent environmental anti-social behaviour like graffiti, neighbour noise or dog fouling, and another for police and local authorities to deal with more serious disorder and criminality in a specific place, such as closing a property used for drug dealing
- Police “direction” powers – the ability to direct any individual causing or likely to cause crime or disorder away from a particular place and to confiscate related items