Anti-Social Behaviour Bill may weaken poorer families, says NCB

Many of the contentious plans outlined in the government’s
White Paper on tackling anti-social behaviour are included in the
Anti-Social Behaviour Bill published last week and will be debated
in the House of Commons, writes Clare

Following the publication of the White Paper, National
Children’s Bureau criticised plans to extend fixed penalty
notices to 16-year olds, saying young people were unlikely to be
able to pay the fines themselves and the plans could increase
financial pressure on poor families and “may exacerbate
tensions between parents and children”.

The charity also feared proposals to give police powers to
disperse groups of youths could encourage the myth that it is
groups of young people who are largely responsible for anti-social
or criminal behaviour.

Despite this and further criticisms, the Bill states that the
Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 should be amended so that
penalty notices for disorderly behaviour can be issued to 16-year
olds and also includes powers for police to disperse groups.

The Bill includes measures for local housing authorities,
housing action trusts and registered social landlords to apply to a
county court for a demotion order for tenants because of
anti-social behaviour, which would ensure secure tenancy is

The government also plans to consult on whether to give local
authorities an enabling power to withhold housing benefit payments
to anti-social tenants, according to the White Paper, a move which
Shelter opposes believing it does not tackle behaviour.

But plans to make begging a recordable offence, attacked by
Homeless Link as unworkable and not addressing underlying causes of
begging, are not included in the Bill, as it requires secondary

A spokesperson for Homeless Link said: “We hope that
before any secondary legislation is in introduced that we would
have the opportunity to discuss our concerns with the home

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