In 2022, police forces across England and Wales received 1,039,579 crime reports about anti-social behaviour. While this is a decrease in incidents compared to the number of incidents received in 2021, it remains that anti-social behaviour is a serious issue across the UK. To tackle the issue, the government has recently announced an Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan to provide guidance for police and local authorities dealing with anti-social behaviour.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan aims to establish a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of anti-social behaviour, providing police and the local authorities with the tools they need to tackle anti-social behaviour.

What Does the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan Entail?

Under the new action plan, 16 areas of England and Wales will receive funding to support new policing measures, including the ‘Immediate Justice’ scheme, which aims to deliver swift and visible punishments that will act as a deterrent. A select few areas will trial both interventions and following these trial areas, the schemes will be rolled out across England and Wales from 2024.

Changes We Can Expect to See in Trailblazer Areas

The trailblazer areas will see an increase in police presence alongside wardens for anti-social behaviour in problem areas such as parks or on public transport. The increased presence of authority figures in these areas will help:

  • Step up enforcement against offenders
  • Punish crimes quickly
  • Deter antisocial behaviour

By punishing crimes faster, anti-social behaviour will be prevented from spiralling into more serious crimes, providing improved safety for the community.

The Immediate Justice Scheme

As part of the Immediate Justice scheme, those found to be committing anti-social behaviour will be made to repair any damage they have inflicted on victims and communities. The aim with this repayment would be for the perpetrator to start work as soon as 48 hours after their offence to demonstrate how anti-social behaviour is a matter of urgency and should be treated seriously. Victims from the local community would also be given a say in offenders’ punishment to ensure justice is both visible and fits the crime committed.

Changes to Police Action Towards Anti-Social Behaviour

To implement the Immediate Justice scheme and combat anti-social behaviour, police will be given new powers to tackle illegal drug use. This includes expanding powers of drug testing on arrest to ensure more suspected criminals can be tested and more drugs can be seized, since illegal drug use is often a catalyst for other crimes. As part of the zero-tolerance approach, Nitrous-oxide has also been banned due to links between the use of the drug and anti-social behaviour.

Over the next 12 months, a new anti-social behaviour reporting tool is being developed. The tool will act as a digital one-stop shop where people can easily report incidents of anti-social behaviour when they occur. In addition to being able to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour through the tool, people will also have access to resources and guidance on how to proceed with cases, providing individuals with updates on the actions being taken by the police. Regular updates aim to give the public confidence that their reports are being taken seriously and that action is being taken. Additionally, the tool supports local authorities in sharing information on perpetrators in the local area, helping them identify repeat offenders and create more preventative measures regarding future crimes.

A Summary of Other Measures Included in the Plan

  • Increased punishment for those who graffiti, litter or fly-tip
  • Increased powers for landlords and housing associations to evict drunk and disorderly tenants
  • An extra million hours of youth services in the areas of England and Wales with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour
  • An agreement to engage with key stakeholders on the scope of making the practice of cuckooing a criminal offence
  • The creation of an anti-social behaviour taskforce jointly led by the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Levelling up to bring together both national and local partners to address anti-social behaviour

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Police forces across England and Wales forces received 1,039,579 crime reports about anti-social behaviour (ASB) in 2022. To support local authorities and police in decreasing incidents of ASB, the government has recently launched the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan. This article provides a summary of the key points shared in the plan.

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