Mayor raps May’s reforms

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A MAYOR has raised concerns about changes in anti-social behaviour legislation that will disrupt the “great work” being done by council and police officers.

Home Secretary Theresa May has announced reforms that will replace 19 crime-fighting measures with six powers that target “people, places and police powers”.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders will be scrapped for Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs), which if breached are punishable by up to five years in jail.

Civil Crime Prevention Injunctions (CPI) will also give agencies an immediate power to protect victims and communities as they require a lower standard of proof.

Police will also have to act if five different people complain about the behaviour of tearaways as part of the new white paper.

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond, who is also chairman of Cleveland Police Authority, said the current system is “working fine” in the town and he is worried about more bureaucracy being introduced.

A joint anti-social behaviour unit, based within the Avenue Road police station, currently sees council officers and police officers working together to clamp down on unruly behaviour.

Mayor Drummond said: “The unit works extremely effectively and implement Asbos to protect the community.

“I don’t know the full details of the changes but I fear having to change the services we provide around it.

“Not only are we already on top of crime reduction issues, the cost of having to making changes in these times is a concern.

“What we really need is to free up people’s time so they can do their jobs and carry on tackling the problems.”

Simpler powers to close premises that are 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 by the Government.

The new powers will be piloted in Manchester, Brighton and Hove and Lincolnshire.

Mrs May said: “What we will see is anti-social behaviour being taken seriously and being dealt with.

“What we’re doing is giving people the confidence that when they call the police something will be done.”

Asbos were introduced by Labour but have been criticised for becoming a “badge of honour” for yobs.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper 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.”