I have worked hard as an MP to help constituents who are affected by anti-social behaviour. Last summer I distributed a handbook on the law related to anti-social behaviour to help local residents.
Although Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) sometimes get a bad press, I found they were effective at helping deal with this problem locally.
Using evidence from residents, council staff and staff of Housing Trusts could work with the police and the courts to get an injunction against anti-social behaviour. This would prevent a person from harassing and intimidating neighbours or using other behaviour that threatened people.
If the anti-social neighbour lived in private housing the police or council could put an ASBO on the individual, to stop them causing people distress or fear. If the individual breached their ASBO they could end up being arrested. This was an effective way of stopping behaviour that can hurt other people’s quality of life.
Recently the Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to scrap ASBOs but she has not suggested how communities can tackle anti-social behaviour without help from the law.
In order to save money, the Conservative Home Secretary also plans to scrap police powers that could protect people suffering domestic violence in the home. Labour had legislated to introduce Domestic Violence Protection Orders that would safeguard families from violent abuse. If families were under a threat of domestic violence senior police officers would have had the power to ban the violent person form their home for 2 weeks, to allow the victim time to get help. Children’s charity NSPCC has said they are “deeply disappointed” at this, as the Protection Orders would have given “vital respite to the victims of abuse”.
A Conservative Minister recently said that it is the first duty of Government “to protect our way of life and provide security for our citizens”. That means the right to enjoy a home life that is free from threats of violence or anti-social behaviour. However, it seems that the Home Secretary doesn’t take that duty seriously enough to keep the powers that provide that security.