Rishi Sunak is reportedly cracking down on several anti-social behaviours with a raft of changes that will make offenders pay the community back for their crimes. The new laws, many of which will be introduced this Monday, March 27, may also grant police new powers against street beggars and those on benefits, and the ability to fine people on the spot.
Police will be cracking down on anti-social behaviour using “short and sharp” punishments.
The new changes come just weeks before local elections. The Prime Minister will pledge to work “tirelessly” to tackle disorder in communities as part of his “levelling-up agenda” – the buzzword which helped see Boris Johnson into No10 during the 2019 election.
Polling suggests anti-social behaviour is a key issue for voters, with Mr Sunak’s announcement echoing Labour’s policy pledge earlier this week in which party leader Sir Keir Starmer promised to “halve serious violent crime”. In his announcement, he revived New Labour’s slogan – “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”.
Similarly to Mr Sunak’s new laws, Sir Keir is partly focusing on ways to improve communities, saying his party will be “fighting the virus that is anti-social behaviour: fly-tipping, off-road biking in rural areas, drugs”.
The PM’s new laws will grant police new powers to clamp down on illegal drug use, as well as providing more funding for community patrols. They will also legislate the actions of street beggars, including a ban on asking for money at cash dispensers.
The Sun reports that these laws include prohibiting drinking alcohol at bus stops or war memorials. Police will also be able to issue drug tests on the spot.
A key emphasis among Mr Sunak’s new laws is on community payback.
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This is being enforced by making offenders perform services to pay the community back for their crimes.
For instance, people caught creating graffiti will be forced to clean it up themselves within 48 hours, while fly-tippers will have to tidy up their mess within two days.
Meanwhile, those caught dropping cigarette butts, chewing gum or other litter on the streets will reportedly be made to clean the streets.
A ban on the sale and possession of nitrous oxide, known as laughing gas, will be announced to address growing concerns about its impact on health and the littering in streets of the metal canisters that carry the substance.
According to the Mail, the government is also considering halting benefits payments for parents whose children don’t show up at school.
A Government spokesman said last night: “Making our communities a better and safer place to live is a key part of our levelling-up agenda. And because we know anti-social behaviour can make life miserable for so many, we’ll shortly publish an action plan outlining how we’ll work tirelessly across government to tackle it.
“This will focus on swifter justice for victims and tougher punishments for offenders, as well as supporting young people into sports and other activities.
“We are already injecting record funds into policing and recruiting an additional 20,000 police officers. Our safer streets fund is also putting money into local projects to help tackle neighbourhood crime and anti-social behaviour.”
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