Anti-social behaviour: Police 'will be forced to act'


Theresa May: "I still hear horror stories of victims reporting the same problem over and over again"

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Police will be forced to deal with anti-social behaviour if five households in one area complain about another resident, the government says.

Home Secretary Theresa May said a "community trigger" would prevent "horror stories of victims reporting the same problem over and over again".

But Labour dismissed the proposals, which will apply to England and Wales, as "belated and weak".

In a speech, Mrs May also promised police pay would reflect skill levels.

The announcement on anti-social behaviour follows an outcry over a mother who killed herself and her disabled daughter following repeated harassment by youngsters.

Fiona Pilkington had complained to police at least 33 times about the treatment she and 18-year-old Francecca Hardwick had received, including having their house pelted with stones and eggs.

The Independent Police Complaints Authority found that officers had failed to take "robust action".


The government is promising to set up five pilot schemes this summer, which will force the authorities to act if people in five separate households complain about a neighbour causing problems, such as noise or threatening behaviour.

In a speech in central London, Mrs May said: "Many police forces, councils and housing providers are working hard, but I still hear horror stories of victims reporting the same problem over and over again, and getting no response.

Start Quote

This suggests that anti-social behaviour should not be taken seriously if only two or three people complain”

End Quote Gloria DePiero Labour

"These long-running problems - and the sense of helplessness that goes with them - can destroy a victim's quality of life and shatter a community's trust in the police.

"That's why we proposed a 'community trigger' as part of our reforms to anti-social behaviour laws."

Mrs May pointed out that the government was already working with a number of local authorities to test the "community trigger" in practice, ahead of the launch of the summer pilot schemes.

But Shadow Home Office minister Gloria DePiero criticised the plans.

"This is a belated and weak announcement from the home secretary which shows how out of touch she is with the anti-social behaviour problems many communities face," she said.

"After two years of doing nothing to tackle anti-social behaviour, the home secretary has to do better than a few pilots that won't start until the summer, and which seem to suggest that anti-social behaviour should not be taken seriously if only two or three people complain."

Mrs May also announced long-awaited changes to the pay and allowances of 130,000 police officers, saying it would "remain a well-paid job".

The deal would save about £150m a year but there would be no reduction in basic pay. But any extra payments would be focused on specialist staff and front-line officers, Mrs May said.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    HR & PC is the problem - YET AGAIN - Thanks Labour...

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    1. Neil
    A cynical attempt to change the subject away from bank bonuses?


    Nothing for you to be self-righteous about on there then?

    This affects far more people than one bank executive turning down a contractual bonus. Or maybe you don't suffer that problem living in your ivory tower...

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Thanks for the kind words, but unfortunately he's very clever and will always look for a justification. Check the roof one month, for damp the next, window frames next time... It goes on, he could do it all at once in onc visit quite easily. However, he is still within the law as he has justification. Nowt I can do sadly, just have to live with it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    It shouldn't take legislation to tackle the problem- the police should do their job properly... another police failure (like the riots) that will be swept under the carpet with no-one/ no force being held accountable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Divide and conquer eh?

    I've got a new scheme for neighbourhoods. It's got 1 rule:

    If they're not hurting you, and it's got nothing to do with you, get your nose out of the curtains and mind your own business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Even before I started to read this story I thought of the lady who killed herself and her daughter because she suffered years of abuse whilst the police just stood by and did absolutely nothing about it at all.

    It the "institutional could not care less" attitude from the Police is addressed then that can only be a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Even if the Police do act on a 5 complaint trigger - That doesn't mean the police will make it stop. It just means they'll act on it. By acting they'll probably send a PCSO around and they'll just do the usual "Please nice to your neighbours or we'll have to visit you again" - eg - nothing will be achieved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I have been a victim for nearly 3 years now. Police said eggs and stones being thrown is not a crime? I took one of the criminals to my police station after witnessing him commit a crime and was told I would be charged for kid knapping. PONTYPRIDD police are the worst. If you want to find one go to your nearest takeaway because they dont respond to 999!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    @ 13 - Just maybe, Ms May wants to take our minds off of RBS bonuses

    Why did Labour not disallow bonuses when they recruited Heston?

    Are Labour now saying that ordinary workers should have the say on all Boardroom packages? Even in private companies?

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    We have been complaining about our neighbour for 3 years and nothing has been done despite the fact we have proof. We are the only ones affected as the neighbour lives directly above us, police will not respond as it is not classed as a crime, noise patrol are overstreched and take hours to get back to us by which time the noise has stopped.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Frankly - I'd much prefer that Councils & Landlords dealt with such pests - followed-up by Police action finally.

    Why waste Police time initially - they have much more important Crimes to deal with as it is.

    Steps should also be taken after just THREE complaints...

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    One problem is that if you are continually plagued by a gang of yobs, if you happen to venture out to ask for names and addresses in order to lodge a formal complaint, you are likely to spend the rest of the evening in casualty. And as for the "Robust Action", the police could give them an ASBO, as anything more could infringe their human rights.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I found my cockerel a nuisance, until the miserable bloke next door complained about him.

    Now I relish his every crow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Too little too late to be credible.

    Just maybe, Ms May wants to take our minds off of RBS bonuses and bank bailouts and the up and comming Euro bailouts.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Labour dismissed this but nothing they put in place when they had the chance actually tackled them problem, better to try something rather than dismiss everything.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Old Hat - interesting. However, he is legally entitled to enter your house if he writes first. Is there more to this? Does he do this every month? If he is excessive or intrusive then he has no right to act that way and you have the right to complain. Hang in there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Trouble is a lot of the nuisances caused by our neighbours are classed by the Police as being "Domestic" so they will not/can not act on them. In the case of very noisy neighbours they just refer you to the local council and the local council don't have the wherewithall to deal with it. How is Theresa May going to deal with these sorts of problems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    I suffered from nuisance neighbours for many years until recently. The police weren't interested, despite death threats against me, the noise officer, and other neighbours, plus open drug dealing. The local council noise officers only came out on a weekend which was no good when the neighbours were making all the noise all night in the week.
    They got a £5000 fine, paid up, and just started again

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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