Antisocial behaviour: Jacqui Smith says police will harass offenders

    Home secretary Jacqui Smith warned persistent offenders “there would be no escape” in a new crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

    Action squads will work with police in every community to reduce violence and intimidation by carrying out intensive checks and home visits. Offenders will face checks on their TV licences, car tax and insurance, and council tax payments under the initiative, which will be funded by a £255,000 grant.

    No escape

    Speaking in London at a conference on antisocial behaviour, Smith said 65% of people improve their behaviour after just one intervention. But 7% offenders continued misbehaving after three interventions – and these individuals commit most offences, she said.

    “If persistent offenders know that they’ll be able to get away with it, then they will, by definition, persistently offend,” Ms Smith said. “They will try it on again and again.

    “There will be no escape for persistent offenders.”

    The Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill, which is expected to receive royal assent today, will extend powers to include a statutory requirement to review antisocial behaviour orders on all under-18-year-olds after one year to assess the progress.

    Sign of failure

    Meanwhile, the number of Asbos issued fell from 4,123 in 2005 to 2,706 in 2006. However, Martin Narey, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said each Asbo “is a sign of failure and without constructive work with the child and the family they are doomed to fail”.

    The chief executive of NCH, Clare Tickell, said there should be a balance between enforcement and suppor. “Our work with young people and their families shows that dealing with gaps in parenting skills, alcohol or drug abuse, domestic violence and truancy reduces ongoing antisocial behaviour.”

    More information

    Home Office

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