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 47.

    "Making" the police respond? How on earth are we going to do that?

    Came to the conclusion some years ago that the police had simply become the uniformed branch of the social services; Happy to make an appointment to see a victim and tell them who they can talk to about it

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    'May tackles nuisance neighbours'. Got this wonderful image of Theresa walking out of her front door, rolling up her sleeves, stomping towards next door, "Right I've had enough of you lot,you're going to get some of this".Frightening or what?

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    All too often, the authorities trip over themselves in their haste to wash their hands of anything that creates paperwork or demands immediate action.

    I can't see this working at all. Complaints have to be proven, and councils and police alike will do nothing, even when they witness ASB with their own eyes. Over-tolerance has become the mainstay of the British justice system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Ten years living next door to a psychopath and the police are useless. Ran my husband over, jumped onto my back, kicked a dog so hard his kidney ruptured, demolished rear of my garage, demolished step ballustrading etc etc. Police happy to believe him and his family, rather than face up to the real problem. Driven almost to suicide thanks to the lack of police help.
    We are sane and normal...

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    The issue facing the police is that a lot of this is covered by civil, not criminal law, so requires the intervention of environmental health, especially noise issues. Disinterest from law enforcement may actually be because they don't have the power to do anything.

    More anti-social behaviour needs to be criminalised.

    @34 maybe she's annoyed because you won't buy a house with thicker walls?

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    @16. Tez

    My sister suffered a lot of harassment from council tenant neighbours - the council were as useful as a chocolate teapot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Is that you over the garden hedge?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    Perhaps 5 neighbours in Downing street could get those at No 10 evicted!

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Our neighbours will have to be reported. I heard the mother say to her children that immigration needs curbing.Then I recorded the father saying that too much welfare was being given to the disabled (only he used a politically incorrect expression) They have made hostile comments about Diane Abbot which I filmed and will post on You Tube, they are Christians who sing hymns and might be anti-gay.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    Anti-social behaviour does not always equate with criminal behaviour. In which case, there is little the police can do, no matter how many people call to complain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Anti-social behavior will take decades to fix because the problem with anti-social behavior offenders is that it's too late for them. What can people expect in a society that uses money as a disciplinary tool?? Respect and tolerance are social constructs which will only bear fruit in a society which doesn't 'give things away for free'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    what if you dont have 5 neighbours?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    Police will deal with this but their hand r tied - it also depends on how courts deal with person afterwards - or social landlord (or both). A lot of neighbours complain to each other but won't complain 2 police!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I don't like the sound of my neighbours making love. It annoys the wife something chronic. She's so jeolous and I don't want to complain because she doesn't moan in such a earthy way. I feel a lot of probs would be solved with the abolition of paper-thin walls.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    I have lived next to scum for 5 years. I have endured many sleepless nights - their xmas party lasted for 42 hours!! Its not just the noise, the smell of drugs seeps into my house, rubbish, rats, blocked drains - which floods my cellar, they vomit and use the entry as a toilet - i have to take the bins through it. The landlord gets his money - doesn't care! Only I complain!! There is little help.

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I have been effected by a nuisance neighbour by the Name of May who while demanding more from our local police cuts their numbers and pay!

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Can she do anything about my nuisance flat mate?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Labour have absolutely no right to speak out against this. After all, they were the ones who fostered the nanny state and entitlement culture where people know their rights, but not their responsibilities, meaning feckless, feral brats can get away with such harassment uninhibited.

    They did nothing to stop this for 13 years either, even though they could have done so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Isn't she the one who wouldn't resign? She'll have to stop cutting police funding and getting rid of decent coppers or this will be a complete waste of time, effort and space again. Teresa, you just can't cut it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    But Labour dismissed the proposals but failed to, as usual, offer any credible alternatives and also failed to do anything about it whilst in 13 years of Government.


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