Antisocial Behaviour

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 9th July 2012.

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Photo of Tom Blenkinsop Tom Blenkinsop Opposition Whip (Commons) 2:30 pm, 9th July 2012

How many police forces in England and Wales wait until five separate households have complained about antisocial behaviour before responding.

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

Police forces and their local partners should respond to every complaint about antisocial behaviour, and most take the issue very seriously, but if repeated complaints have been ignored, our proposed community trigger will allow victims and communities to require agencies to take action.

Photo of Tom Blenkinsop Tom Blenkinsop Opposition Whip (Commons)

In some areas, people have to make at least three separate complaints of antisocial behaviour before getting a response. Is that not a symptom of police numbers being cut by 15,000—they are being cut to 1974 levels in Cleveland—and the fact that police powers are being weakened by this Government?

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

No, not at all. For a start, if the hon. Gentleman had read the HMIC report published last week, he would know that it makes it clear that front-line policing is being protected overall. He would also know that the service to the public has largely been maintained; the proportion of officers on the front line is increasing; the number of neighbourhood officers has gone up; crime is down; victim satisfaction is improving; and the response to emergency calls is being maintained.

Photo of Michael Ellis Michael Ellis Conservative, Northampton North

Northamptonshire police are an excellent constabulary and excellently run by Chief Constable Adrian Lee. It is doing great work fighting antisocial behaviour. Does my hon. Friend agree that police and crime commissioners will also do an awful lot to improve the fight against antisocial behaviour? Does she find it shocking that the Labour party does not support that?

Photo of Lynne Featherstone Lynne Featherstone The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I do find it shocking, given that so many of the Labour ilk are standing for the position of PCCs. The job of PCCs is to listen to what people want in their local communities and to give communities the powers to require agencies to act. That is happening under this Government, but it never happened under the Labour Government.