Sunak pledges ‘immediate’ and ‘visible’ justice to crack down on anti-social behaviour

Politics

People convicted of anti-social behaviour will be ordered to repair the damage they have caused within two days of being told their punishment, under new plans.

Making justice “immediate” and ensuring that communities can visibly see efforts to clean up vandalism and graffiti will be a key plank of the measures.

The scheme will be piloted in 10 areas before a rollout across England and Wales next year, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will announce on Monday.

Speaking ahead of the plan’s publication, the prime minister said: “For too long, people have put up with the scourge of anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods.

“These are not minor crimes.

“They disrupt people’s daily lives, hold businesses back and erode the sense of safety and community that brings people together.

“That’s why I’m bringing forward a new plan to crack down on this behaviour once and for all – so that everyone can feel proud of where they live.”

Cleaning up the mess they created

Where possible, low-level offenders will be cleaning up the mess they created but if this is not possible – if it has already been cleaned up, for example – they will be given other ways to help their community.

This could include picking up litter, washing police cars or volunteering in shops.

Ministers have also said that victims and affected communities will be able to help decide on the punishment offenders should face, with input from local police and crime commissioners (PCCs).

Offenders will have to wear jumpsuits or hi-vis jackets and be supervised to make sure the public can have confidence that justice is being done.

Community payback

The plans will come alongside an expansion of “community payback” for more serious criminals sentenced to do unpaid work in their communities.

Last year 1,500 offenders spent almost 10,000 hours on 300 community clean-up projects, and there are plans to double that this year.

According to government figures, last year saw 1,500 offenders spend almost 10,000 hours on 300 community clean-up projects, with plans to double that this year.

‘Out of ideas and out of time’

Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said cuts to neighbourhood policing had allowed offenders to “get away without punishment”.

He said: “Under 13 years of Conservative government, community sentences have plummeted by two-thirds.

“And now they have finally realised how angry local people are, so once again following where Labour has led by trying to copy our plan on tough community payback.

“It is embarrassing that all the Conservatives can come up with is a pilot in 10 areas – covering only a quarter of police forces. They are out of ideas and out of time.”

In a plan revealed last month, Labour announced proposals to put 13,000 more neighbourhood police on Britain’s streets and introduce “clean-up squads” for fly-tippers if its wins power at the next election.

The party also said it wanted to establish community and victim payback boards to oversee strengthened community sentences.

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