Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Tories are making it much harder to fight anti-social behaviour

Vandalism, dangerous dogs and nuisance neighbours can make some families’ lives a misery. That’s why I supported Labour’s tough action against crime and anti-social behaviour.

Now I’m worried the clock is being turned back. On top of big cuts to neighbourhood police, the Tories want to weaken police powers to fight anti-social behaviour. They need to rethink. We need stronger, not weaker, action against crime.

This week, Parliament debated the Tories’ plans to water down ASBOs, which mean that someone who keeps ignoring police warnings, court orders and injunctions to stop terrorising their neighbours won’t be guilty of a crime.

The plans are weak on support for victims of repeated harassment, and there are too many loopholes to let offenders off if police resources are tight. All this while the Tory-led Government is cutting 15,000 police officers.

They are also making it harder to get CCTV by wasting £14 million on more red tape. Home Secretary Theresa May supported CCTV in her constituency. Why make it harder for everyone else?

The Bill should do more to tackle dangerous dogs, too. Labour wants Dog Control Notices which would force owners of problem dogs to keep them muzzled and on a lead in any public place in order to prevent attacks in the future.

The Tories’ plans are weak and ineffective. They should change course and set out the stronger action communities need. I will be supporting Labour amendments in the Commons later this year that will aim to do just that.