Responding to the Home Office’s announcement of new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour, Cllr Mehboob Khan, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said:
“When people are intimidated or inconvenienced by nuisance behaviour and their local neighbourhoods become blighted by graffiti and abandoned cars it is often to the council – rather than the police – that they will first turn.
“Local authorities know the most effective method to prevent anti-social behaviour is to prevent it happening in the first place. This means working in partnership with health agencies, the fire service, schools, probation officers and the police to steer people away from activity which causes harassment or distress to others and can end up making people’s lives a misery.
“To win the battle against anti-social behaviour and help people feel safe in their neighbourhoods, we need to see more of this joint working between councils and police, not less. When elected police commissioners take office later this year, we will be urging them to work alongside councils and not cast aside the expertise within local government.
“We support Government’s intention to make it easier for these problems in our communities to be tackled, along with the introduction of extra powers for the police to intervene. However, it is vital that passing more responsibility to the police does not marginalise councils’ crucial role in tackling the root causes of anti-social behaviour and low-level crime.
“As well as identifying perpetrators of nuisance behaviour councils face, a continual challenge to ensure the most vulnerable victims of anti-social behaviour don’t slip through the net. The police now have a casework system clearly identifying vulnerability of victims of anti-social behaviour and people who make regular complaints already have the ear of their local council. We are not convinced the new ‘community trigger’ being proposed will help with the real challenge of reaching out to those who suffer in silence.
“The public will expect the new police and crime commissioners (PCCs) who take office later this year to prioritise tackling anti-social behaviour. As the membership body for commissioners, the LGA will be working to ensure that commissioners and councils work hand-in-hand to clamp down on the sort of nuisance behaviour that blights communities, destroys lives and holds back economic growth.”