20/01/2004

Measures to tackle anti-social behaviour come into force

The "single biggest package" of measures to tackle anti-social behaviour comes into force today, the Home Office has confirmed.

Home Secretary David Blunkett said that it would give people "new tools in their fight against neighbours from hell", intimidating groups on their streets and potentially lethal firearms.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 includes measures to:
  • give county councils and housing action trusts permission to apply for anti-social behaviour orders, helping to tackle nuisance neighbours;
  • close crack houses;
  • disperse groups causing harassment or intimidation;
  • place restrictions on ownership of airguns;
  • create a new offence of possession of an air weapon or replica firearm in a public place without reasonable excuse;
  • ban the sale and manufacture of high powered air weapons;
  • widen the use of fixed penalty notices - eg for noise nuisance, truancy, graffiti - and apply them to 16 to 17 year olds;
  • and lift automatic reporting restrictions on anti-social behaviour orders on conviction in youth court.
The Home Secretary said: "We are determined to help these communities - for more than a year the government has been working hard to tackle anti-social behaviour and I recognise the tremendous amount of good work already being done across the country.

"But the government cannot do everything on its own. We have delivered the powers people on the front-line wanted, they must now be used for the benefit of everyone."

The measures are part of the 'Together' campaign which is giving new powers to councils, police, environmental health officers, housing officers and others and creating a partnership to tackle anti-social behaviour.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Act received Royal Assent on November 21 2003.

(gmcg)

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