When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Scrapping Asbos will not help protect public, Southampton City Council leader Simon Letts warns
SWEEPING away Asbos will make it harder to protect the public from yobs, Southampton’s council leader has warned.
Councillor Simon Letts raised the alarm over plans to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) with a new Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (Ipna).
Crucially – unlike Asbos – police will be unable to automatically arrest someone who breaches the proposed new punishment.
That means local authorities will have to apply to a court for a separate arrest warrant, before they can take action against someone breaking the terms of an Ipna.
And that, critics are warning, will make it much harder to crack down quickly on troublemakers making the lives of ordinary people a misery.
Now Cllr Letts is among leading councillors and city centre business leaders, who are urging Home Secretary Theresa May to think again.
He told the Daily Echo: “It will be a backward step to remove this clear, specific cause of action.
“It will make it harder and more expensive to get the outcome that the public wants – which is that, when people cause a nuisance, something is done about that quickly.
“We know that Asbos are breached 50 per cent of the time. Westminster City Council is keen to put pressure on ministers about this – and so am I.”
The flagship Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill cleared the Commons without the issue causing controversy.
However, a clash is looming in the House of Lords, where a Conservative peer has tabled an amendment to try to bolster the power to act against troublemakers.
At present, the legislation only triggers the power of arrest when an Ipna is breached if there is a threat of violence or a “significant risk of harm to others”.
The amendment would allow police to arrest someone for a breach if their behaviour has been of an “intentionally or potentially persistent nature”.
The Home Secretary announced the Asbo overhaul 18 months ago, insisting it would help the police and councils because the new orders would require a lower burden of proof.
Someone can be given an Ipna if they act in a way that is “capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”.
Comments are closed on this article.