Theresa May reveals 'community trigger' to replace ASBOs and target anti-social behaviour


A new ‘community trigger’ is to be introduced to replace the discredited ASBO scheme, and make it quicker and easier for police to investigate complaints of anti-social behaviour.

Under the new plan, which aims to stop repeat victims suffering unnoticed by giving individuals and communities the power to make police take action, forces will be required to investigate any single incident reported by at least five people, or any three complaints made by the same person.

Speaking in Manchester ,which along with Brighton and Hove and West Lindsey in Lincolnshire will be one of three pilot areas for the scheme, the Home Secretary Theresa May said the measures "will give people the confidence that when they call the police something will be done".

"I want to see the police dealing with anti-social behaviour when it happens and when people are reporting it," she added.

The Home Secretary’s reforms will replace 19 measures with six powers that target people, places and police powers.

A new Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) will be used to ban individuals from activities or places, while civil Crime Prevention Injunctions (CPI) will be introduced to give agencies immediate power to protect victims and communities by stopping bad behaviour before it escalates.

Simpler powers to close premises that are deemed a magnet for trouble, and tougher action over nightmare neighbours, with faster eviction processes for those who refuse to change their ways, will also be introduced.

The move follows high-profile cases such as that of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, in 2007 following 10 years of sustained abuse.

The lower standard of proof for civil orders such as the CPI means they can be put in place in days or even hours, rather than months and years.

Reacting to the new community triggers, Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, said: "The Government's new measures are a weaker rebrand, making it harder for the police, councils and housing associations to take tough enforcement action when people's lives are made a misery by anti-social bullies or nuisance neighbours.

"It should not take three separate complaints, or five different households complaining before getting a response.

She went on: "Breaching anti-social behaviour orders will no longer be a criminal offence.

"And housing associations have warned that rebranding injunctions will make it harder to deal with neighbours from hell because it rips up years of case law and experience.

"Ministers' grand promises on anti-social behaviour are no use if they are taking away the police to do the job and cutting back the effective powers they need."

However, Sussex Police Chief Inspector Bruce Mathews, head of the Safe in the City Delivery Unit in Brighton and Hove - one of the three pilot areas, said: "The early benefits of this work are starting to have an impact already.

"For example, agencies across the city are using a vulnerability assessment for victims and witnesses of anti-social behaviour and hate incidents.

"This identifies the levels of harm, risk and vulnerability of the person and enables agencies to better respond to their circumstances and needs."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower