Bezuinigingen aanpak anti-social behaviour in Groot-Britannië

Het Britse Home Office bezuinigt flink op de aanpak van anti-social behaviour. De omvang van het landelijke anti-social behaviour team is gehalveerd. Eerder berichtte het Home Office al dat de aanpak van anti-social behaviour (ontworpen door de vorige Labour regering) op de schop gaat.

Inside Housing meldt:

The Home Office is slashing the number of people who work in its anti-social behaviour team by half.

Inside Housing understands the 14-strong team has been reduced to seven members following staff restructuring at the department.

The swingeing cut comes at a busy time for the team, which is carrying out a review of ASB powers that began in July last year.

The consultation, due to end on 17 May, proposes a number of new orders to tackle ABS (see box: ASB overhaul).

Two managers who were seconded from councils, have also left the team. Paul Cullan and Aaron Devereaux started work for the government’s anti-social behaviour squad, which was backed by £255,000 of government cash, in September 2009.

They came from Manchester and Brighton & Hove councils respectively, and returned to their positions on council anti-social behaviour teams in March. Mr Cullan has since accepted voluntary severance from the council following staff cuts.

Eamon Lynch, managing director of the Social Landlords’ Crime and Nuisance Group, said: ‘The Home Office anti-social behaviour unit has just been sliced in half.

‘I don’t know why this has happened right in the middle of major reform – it just seems a most odd time. We have asked for the funding [for these posts] to be continued but this was politely declined.’

The review seeks to reduce the number of powers available to the police and landlords from 18 to just five. Social landlords have been asked to identify ASB ‘hotspots’ as part of the consultation.

The Home Office refused to comment on personnel issues. A spokesperson said: ‘ASB is a priority for this government as set out in the coalition document and the Home Office business plan.’

Zie hier.

Kritiek op Engelse bevoegdheid om jongeren wegens overlast naar huis te brengen

De nieuwe Britse regering heeft nieuwe plannen voorgesteld voor de aanpak van overlast. De regering stelt voor om politieagenten te bevoegdheid te geven om overlastveroorzakende jongeren naar huis te brengen. Op dit voorstel binnen de nieuwe aanpak van overlast is kritiek geleverd: het naar huis brengen van de jongeren kan hem in gevaar brengen. Vaak is de thuissituatie namelijk vaak sprake van ernstige overlast en dit is voor de jongere erg gevaarlijk.

Inside Housing meldt:

Vulnerable children could be exposed to greater danger if government plans to curb anti-social behaviour go ahead, a children’s charity has warned.

Barnardo’s has warned that the police direction power, proposed as part of the Home Office’s anti-social behaviour reforms, could see children returned to unsafe homes if it is used without considering the risks.

The power would allow the police to ask anti-social individuals to leave a particular area, but would also encompass the power for police to return home unaccompanied young people under the age of 16.

Barnardo’s said that many children involved in anti-social behaviour are from highly disadvantaged backgrounds characterised by abuse, bereavement, educational difficulties or residence in high crime neighbourhoods.

Anne Marie Carrie, Barnardo’s chief executive, said: ‘If police send children back to abusive or unsafe households or move them on without consideration for the reasons behind their anti-social behaviour they could be placed in greater danger.’

‘There needs to be much better communication between Police and welfare services to ensure we are not putting children at risk and ultimately perpetuating the cycle of offending.

‘That is not to say that young people shouldn’t face the consequences of their actions, but if we want to protect children we should be able to map welfare needs in communities, not just crime, while preventing offences rather than just reacting to them.’

Barnardo’s said that it should be made compulsory for courts to ask for information about the home lives of children who are being sanctioned for anti-social behaviour to ascertain the likelihood of a young person being supported to change their ways.

The Home Office consultation closes on 17 May.

Zie hier.

Vertraging Britse rechtbanken bij overlast gevaarlijk voor klagers

Engelse klagers lopen gevaar op doordat de procedures bij rechtbanken in overlastzaken lang duren. De beklaagden weten dan inmiddels al dat de buren over de overlast hebben geklaagd. De klagers moeten vrezen voor wraakacties van de buren.

Inside Housing meldt:

The ‘dire’ state of the county court system in England is putting the lives of vulnerable victims of anti-social behaviour at risk, landlords and their lawyers have warned.
People experiencing anti-social behaviour are forced to live next door to the anti-social neighbours they have agreed to give evidence against for up to two-and-a-half years, research by umbrella body the Social Landlords’ Crime and Nuisance Group has revealed.
The overstretched court system has also left witnesses living in close proximity to ASB perpetrators even after they have given evidence against them as overbooked courtrooms run out of time to complete trials in one shot.
Landlords and their lawyers fear the already dire situation will worsen as the government implements a closure programme that will see 49 of the 216 county courts in England and Wales close their doors. Eight courts were scheduled to shut by the end of last month with the rest due to close by next April.
Eamon Lynch, managing director of the Social Landlords’ Crime and Nuisance Group said six-month delays had become the norm. ‘Some people or organisations were able to conclude within two or three months but at the other end of the spectrum it was 12 to 13 months,’ he added.
The SLCNG has raised its concerns with the Communities and Local Government department and the Home Office’s anti-social behaviour review. Mr Lynch said: ‘The big issue for associations is the effect on the victims and witnesses. It places them at risk.’
Nick Billingham, a partner at law firm Devonshires, described the county court system as ‘dire’ and said: ‘If you need a trial of two days for anti-social behaviour you are looking at significant delays. It has got worse in the last six months.’
One housing association will only discover this August whether an action it started two years ago is successful. Southern Housing Group began eviction proceedings against a notorious drug-dealing gang member on a London estate in May 2009.
Sharon Nandoo, anti-social behaviour manager at Southern Housing Group, said the association had become increasingly frustrated by court delays. She said: ‘Every time you go to court and it’s adjourned [the victims] are obviously very distressed.’
A spokesperson for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service said the courts worked hard to ensure cases were heard quickly. Complex cases would not be heard in courts earmarked for closure, he added.