Anti-social behaviour victims given right to appeal lack of action

The community has been given the right to review action on vandalism
The community has been given the right to review action on vandalism
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Communities blighted by anti-social behaviour can now take further action if they feel not enough is being done to tackle the problems.

South Ribble Council has signed off a new report which introduces ‘anti-social behaviour community triggers’.

The triggers give victims and communities the right to request a review of their case and bring agencies such as the police, council, and social housing providers together to take a ‘joined up, problem-solving approach’ to find a
solution.

A community trigger could be activated if:

- Three or more complaints have been lodged in the last six months from one individual about the same problem,

- Five individuals have complained about the same or similar incidents in the last six months, or;

- One incident motivated by hate in the last six months has been complained about from one individual.

Each criteria relates to incidents where ‘no action has been taken’, and once someone activates the trigger, the relevant bodies decide whether the requirements are met to take further action.

The report says: “If the threshold is met, a case review will be undertaken by the partner agencies. Agencies will share information related to the case, review what action has previously been taken and decide whether additional actions are possible or necessary.

“The victim is informed of the outcome of the review, and where further actions are necessary an action plan will be discussed with the victim, including timescales.”

The changes have been welcomed by councillors, but some have voiced concerns over the fact that “for the purpose of the triggers, anti-social behaviour is defined as behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress to a member of the public – not nuisance or annoyance.”

Coun Phil Smith, cabinet member for healthy communities, said: “It’s an interesting piece of new legislation.

“I was involved a short while ago with anti-social behaviour problems in Farington, and the process takes so much time to get together.

“To see something official over the way it is treated, I think we can really make it work.

“My only concern is that it does not include ‘nuisance’ but that can cause ‘alarm and distress’. I do support this though.”

Leyland councillor Matthew Tomlinson added: “Who decides what constitutes harassment and annoyance? Also, who logs the incidents and realises that five different people have complained about the same thing? Who would then pull the trigger?

“The police won’t pull the trigger if they get five complaints and those people are saying they’re not satisfied with the action taken.”

Coun Peter Mullineaux, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and street scene, responded: “The incidents will be logged collectively by the council and the police, and then put together.

“The police might not want to do certain things but that’s the point of bringing a number of bodies together to get a

result.”

Leader of the council, Coun Margaret Smith, added: “It seems that some of the wording is all-encompassing. But it seems to me that nuisance and annoyance should be included.

“I’m sure there will be revisions and tweaks once we figure out what’s working and what’s not.”

The community triggers have been introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014, and will be rolled out across the

country.

A national pilot identified that only a small percentage of the triggers received resulted in further action being required by agencies.