Communities Secretary John Denham today issued a rallying call for an army of community champions to challenge anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods.
Mr Denham is determined that people who want to make a difference in their community have the training and hands-on support they need to work together to solve local problems. That is why he is opening up a new programme of Government training to anyone suffering from anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhood. He wants to make clear that the Government is on their side and will back those who are working to make a difference.
This builds on the Government’s Community Crime Fighters Programme which means that nearly 4000 members of the public have now been recruited and trained by the Home Office as part of the Justice Seen Justice Done campaign. The Programme is a training and support scheme for people who are already active in their community and who want to know more about what they can do to help tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
Training events being run in every region across England will help equip people with the confidence and know-how to join together with their neighbours, police and council staff to take a stand against anti-social behaviour - an issue that can gnaw away at the fabric of strong communities.
These events will offer practical advice to local people and front-line staff on what can be done and how they can work together to tackle neighbourhood anti-social behaviour issues. They will pass on lessons from those who have succeeded in bringing about change through the power of collective action.
This call to action is being supported by a major campaign, which gets underway this week, to give 10 million households across the country the information they need to take action against anti-social behaviour. A new booklet being delivered to homes in areas where anti-social behaviour is a priority for local people and the council advises residents how they can get help if they are being affected by anti-social behaviour and how they can challenge their local police, council or social landlord if they aren’t satisfied with how it is being tackled.
The booklet explains what people can expect from the police and other agencies and how they can work with them to solve problems in their neighbourhood. This follows a leaflet drop to more than six million households in 60 areas across the country in November as part of the Justice Seen, Justice Done campaign and comes on top of an extra £6m of funding given direct to 130 areas to address their particular local priorities on anti-social behaviour.
Perceptions of levels of anti-social behaviour have fallen to the lowest level since records began but anti-social behaviour remains a top priority. The Government is committed to driving down anti-social behaviour by supporting victims and making all local partners take fast and effective action against it.
There are a range of measures, including ASBOs, crack house closure orders and dispersals of groups, available for the police, local authorities, housing officers, social landlords and other front line practitioners, to use, and Government expects them to do so.
John Denham said:
"The Government has given police and councils strong powers and tools to deal with the scourge of anti-social behaviour. We should acknowledge how much has been achieved and take comfort in knowing the number of people who think it is a problem in their neighbourhoods has fallen to the lowest level since records began.”
"But there are still some communities where such behaviour causes real misery. The public have every right to feel confident that the police and councils will give a high priority to tackling the problem, and they need to know where they can go to get answers.
“Local communities are at their strongest and most confident when residents themselves come together, work to shared goals and are actively involved in helping to solve the problems that affect them. I’ve had the opportunity of seeing first hand how neighbourhoods up and down the country have been transformed by the spirit and resilience of those determined to make a difference. I hope their example can inspire many others to get involved themselves to really shape the communities they live in.”
Home Secretary Alan Johnson said:
“We will not tolerate anti-social behaviour. No one should have to put up with it or suffer in silence. It is essential that members of the public know exactly what help and support they are entitled to and who should be providing it if they find themselves a victim of anti-social behaviour. These leaflets will help ensure that message reaches millions of people.
“It is important the authorities clamp down on unacceptable behaviour through the use of ASBOs, and the other tough sanctions they have at their disposal, but communities themselves play an important role in challenging anti-social behaviour. A good relationship between Neighbourhood Policing teams and local residents and businesses means the authorities can provide a specific tailored response, taking tough action on the issues that matter most to people.”
Barbara Follett, Minister for the East of England, said:
"Anti-social behaviour disrupts communities and erodes trust. Fortunately, the East of England has fewer incidents of this nasty problem than others, but this makes the ones we do have all the more shocking. However, the good work being done by the police, councils and residents is paying off in the fight against this scourge of neighbourhoods."
Peter Jackson, Managing Director of the Social Landlords Crime and Nuisance Group, said:
“Social landlords and their tenants have been in the vanguard of effective action to tackling anti social behaviour for almost fifteen years. Our experience is that best results are achieved where residents and organisations genuinely work together to challenge the anti social minority that cause so much misery and damage. Practical, timely and accessible information is vital if residents are to contribute fully to resolving anti social behaviour issues in their communities. Our goal is to make best practice common practice, thereby ensuring that everyone has access to high quality, comprehensive services regardless of where they live and we urge all relevant agencies to respond positively to this ‘call to action.’”
Notes to editors
1. Communities and Local Government is supporting a range of activity as part of a cross-Government drive to ensure that the public is able to live in neighbourhoods free from the corrosive effects of intimidation and harassment. We want to see both police and local authorities using the anti-social behaviour powers they have been given in a way that is effective and responds to people’s needs at the right time.
2. John Denham announced in November 2009 (http://www.communities.gov.uk/news/corporate/1388243 ) £10 million funding to 130 local areas. The training events and booklet being distributed from today are the second phase of our information campaign to people in 130 areas that have made tackling anti-social behaviour a priority and / or face a degree of challenge on anti-social behaviour in their area, building on work led by the Home Office, especially their Justice Seen Justice Done campaign. In the first phase, the Home Office distributed information to around 6 million households within the 130 areas and we wanted to build on that successful activity and leaflet the remainder of the households.
Tackling anti-social behaviour is the joint responsibility of a range of agencies and the best results are achieved where these agencies work together in partnership. The community can also play an important role in working with local agencies to take successful action against anti-social behaviour.
That is why we are organising regional training events which will provide an opportunity for front line staff and residents to learn more about the tools and powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour. By bringing local people together to share best practice we can encourage joint problem solving. There will be 3 training events running in each region in February to March this year and we are encouraging citizens, front-line staff and practitioners to visit www.asb-events.org or call 0845 680 9754 (9am to 6pm Monday to Friday) to register their interest in the events or sign up for a specific local event in their area as these become available. We are also linking to the sign-up website via www.direct.gov.uk/localcrime, which is the anti-social behaviour information site promoted through our booklet and press advertising.
The whole community needs to know where to go to get help and that’s why we’ve produced a short booklet setting out the role of the police and councils in tackling anti-social behaviour which also contains advice on how to go about contacting them. The leaflet will be delivered to over 10 million households in the following local authority areas in the East of England over the coming weeks and can also be downloaded from the Communities and Local Government website
EAST OF ENGLAND
King's Lynn and West Norfolk
Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department