Communities across England and Wales will see more police patrolling antisocial behaviour hotspots and perpetrators will face tougher, swifter consequences.
This marks the next steps in delivering the Prime Minister’s action plan to crack down on antisocial behaviour and build stronger communities.
From this week onwards, 16 police force areas, including Cleveland, Derbyshire and Northumbria, will be launching either ‘hotspot’ policing initiatives or ‘immediate justice’ schemes. These will see offenders of antisocial behaviour made to wear high-vis vests and repair damage they’ve caused to the community – for example washing police cars, cleaning up graffiti and local parks, or litter picking.
‘Immediate justice’ programmes are already underway in Sussex and Derbyshire, and aim for offenders to start work as little as 48 hours after they’ve committed a crime, so that victims know antisocial behaviour is treated seriously. The reparative activity will be up to each force or local council to decide but should be visible to the public, with the community and victims getting a say in the kind of clean-up or repairs undertaken. This will help to restore public confidence that people will be held accountable for their crimes, in turn helping to strengthen communities and build a better future.
The hotspot policing schemes will see an increase in the number of police patrols in areas with the highest rates of antisocial behaviour, with resource focused on locations where incidents are more frequent such as public transport or parks – helping to step up enforcement action and deter crimes from being committed in the first place so that people feel safer in their communities.
While these trial areas are being funded as part of the government’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan announced in March, the initiatives are due to be rolled out in all areas of England and Wales from 2024.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
Everyone should have the right to feel safe on their streets, confident that perpetrators will pay the price of their crimes.
That’s why tackling antisocial behaviour is a core part of my pledge to build a better future for people all across this country.
My plan to stamp it out will make sure those responsible for damaging their communities will be swiftly and visibly held to account – so that people know this issue will be treated with the urgency it deserves.
On top of this the Home Secretary is today announcing an additional £60 million – £1.4 million for every police force area in the country – to invest in crime prevention measures such as better CCTV or street lighting, or local community projects with a particular focus on driving down antisocial behaviour, preventing more burglaries and making streets safer for women and girls – in turn helping to build stronger communities. This is on top of the £120 million we have already invested in 270 projects through the fund since 2020.
The funding is the biggest pot to date from the government’s Safer Streets Fund and will be directly awarded to police and crime commissioners. There will be no need to bid competitively for the money, freeing them up to focus on listening to local concerns and delivering the projects – for example, working with civil society organisations on training to stop street sexual harassment.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman said:
People up and down the country are sick of feeling intimidated by yobs in their communities and want to be able to feel safe walking down the street.
Antisocial behaviour is not ‘low-level’ crime and that’s why I am determined to bring it to a stop by giving police the powers and the funding to stamp it out.
There will be quick and visible consequences for individuals carrying out this behaviour before they start down the path to more serious criminality.
I want to see the new funding we’re announcing today invested into more CCTV, better street lighting or gating, to make our streets safer for all.
The government has also delivered on its manifesto commitment to recruit 20,000 additional police officers, with more across England and Wales than ever before, which means more resource to crack down on antisocial behaviour, solve more burglaries and prevent violent crime.
The Home Secretary visited Derbyshire Police on Tuesday, who are consulting with the community throughout this week – which also marks Anti-Social Behaviour Awareness Week – on what kind of reparation they would like to see in their area. The Minister for Policing, Crime and Fire also visited Lancashire Police to see the launch of their hotspot policing pilot.
Rebecca Bryant OBE, Chief Exec Resolve, said:
We must do better when it comes to supporting victims of antisocial behaviour. As our new research shows, it is a prevalent, widespread problem causing serious harm to its victims and communities.
We are calling for a greater focus on early intervention and prevention, and more communication around how to report antisocial behaviour and what to expect after making a report. We are working closely with government to raise awareness of this issue.
The launch of the schemes this week are the next step in the government’s ongoing work to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, as set out in the Prime Minister’s action plan to build stronger communities and a better future for people across the country.
This includes relaunching the anti-social behaviour case review, formerly known as the community trigger, which gives victims of persistent antisocial behaviour a right to request a review of how their case has been handled, where a local threshold is met, as well as the start of a new pilot to rapidly deploy teams of offenders serving Community Payback sentences to carry out local clean-ups where particularly serious incidents of fly tipping, vandalism and littering have taken place.
Today also marks the latest round of funding opening under the Chewing Gum Task Force. More than 50 councils across the UK will receive grants totalling more than £1.65 million to remove discarded chewing gum from our streets and prevent it from being littered again.
Earlier this week, the government also opened the first round of the Million Hours Fund, to make an initial £3 million of grants available for youth organisations to provide more out of school activities and support more young people in areas of high need this summer – ensuring young people are helped away from bad life choices and are given access to greater support.
These measures form part of the Prime Minister’s Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan which sets out the government’s approach to making sure these issues are treated with the urgency they deserve by establishing a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of antisocial behaviour, and giving the police and local authorities the tools they need to tackle the problem.