Speaking in support of the government’s latest announcement to tackle anti-social behaviour, local MP Antony Higginbotham says the Prime Minister’s zero-tolerance approach is a ‘victory for common sense’.
The issue of ASB is one which the MP has been working on with the Police and Crime Commissioner, and which he has raised multiple times with Ministers in Parliament, and with the local Police.
Speaking in the House of Commons he said:
Regeneration is taking place across Burnley and Padiham thanks to this government. But to really realise the potential, we've got to crack down on anti-social behaviour in our town centres. So could my right honourable friend explain what steps he's taking to crack down on ASB in town centres?”
Responding the Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove MP said:
My right honourable friend is absolutely right.
Across the country what we need to do is to have more uniformed officers in crime hotspots. We need to have faster justice so that those who are responsible for damaging an area make reparation. And above all, we need to make sure that the moral relativism which the Opposition frontbench have taken towards crime is at last countered by a robust pro law and order response from this government.
Under the new plans laid out today, Lancashire is one of 16 areas across the country who will receive extra funding to support new ‘hotspot’ police and enforcement patrols to crack down on perpetrators.
This will allow an increase in police presence across Burnley and Padiham, alongside other uniformed authority figures, such as wardens, in problem areas for anti-social behaviour, including public transport, the town centre and parks.
The increased presence is intended to deter ASB, step up enforcement action against offenders, make sure crimes are punished more quickly and drive deterrence efforts, helping to stop anti-social behaviour spiralling into more serious criminality.
Those found committing anti-social behaviour will also be made to repair the damage they inflicted on victims and communities, with an ambition for them to start work as soon as 48 hours after their offence so victims know anti-social behaviour is treated seriously and with urgency.
Commenting after the debate Antony said:
There is no such thing as petty crime and so I welcome the extra money to fund patrols in high-prevalence areas, which is something I have previously called for. Anti-social behaviour leaves people feeling unsafe, and if unchallenged, further emboldens perpetrators to commit more serious criminal acts. It has to be nipped in the bud and is why I’ve raised it so many times in Parliament, including with the Home Secretary.
I’ve always been clear that alongside the extra police officers that are now patrolling the streets of Burnley and Padiham, a common-sense approach needs to be taken. And those causing misery in our neighbourhoods must be held to account for their actions.
I welcome the additional focus on tackling ASB and will continue to work constructively with both the Police, and our Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden to tackle the issue head on.
Under the zero-tolerance approach, Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” will also be banned to send a clear message to intimidating gangs that hang around high streets and children’s parks and litter them with empty canisters. A tough approach will be taken. The drug is now the third most used among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and both the police and public have repeatedly reported links between use of the drug and nuisance or anti-social behaviour.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
Anti-social behaviour undermines the basic right of people to feel safe in the place they call home.
The public have rightly had enough – which is why I am determined to restore people’s confidence that those responsible will be quickly and visibly punished.
This action plan maps out how we will tackle this issue with the urgency it deserves and stamp out these crimes once and for all – so that wherever you live, you can feel safe in, and proud of your community.