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New ASB powers welcomed by senior officer
New police powers that can be used from this month onwards will make dealing with behaviour ranging from rowdiness to littering simpler, the national lead on anti-social behaviour has said.
Simon Edens, Deputy Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police, said he welcomed powers enshrined in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which come into force on October 20.
DCC Edens told PoliceOracle.com: "What it means for police officers and people working with police officers in communities is that the toolkit we have got for dealing with these problems is made much simpler.
"We have gone from 19 different things that police can do down to six, which makes it much easier to navigate our way through.
"The aim is to cut bureaucracy."
He added: "I'm really looking forward to seeing this new legislation in practice."
The Act outlines how so-called community triggers - which can compel police and other agencies to act in cases where complaints about anti-social behaviour have reached a defined threshold - will function in practice. This measure is designed to place a greater focus on victims' needs.
But one element, the introduction of new civil injunctions to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) has been delayed until January at the earliest because of wrangling over legal aid and youth justice.
Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said: “We are currently working to ensure that legal aid services are available to young people who are the subject of civil injunction proceedings and expect this process to be completed by January 2015.”
Staff associations have previously raised concerns that community triggers may cause limited police resources to be stretched further because of vexatious complains - but DCC Edens said unjustified complaints would still be weeded out as part of a case review process.
"If people are reporting matters spuriously, vexatiously or maliciously, we are professionals and we will be able to identify that - but that in itself might be a symptom of a greater malaise which we will be able to investigate," he said.
DCC Edens gave the hypothetical example of an elderly person who calls the police or the local council to report young people lying around in a park outside her flat on a summer evening and talking loudly, drinking or playing football.
He said such calls were common and added that, although the young people in this example had committed no offence, the elderly person still genuinely perceived their behaviour to be anti-social.
"It might be that nothing is happening and the response from us and our partners might be that we are taking no action, but what we do have to do is provide an evidence base to account for that," he said.
It was imperative people that make complaints where no action had results could have confidence that the issues they raised were always "properly and thoroughly looked at", DCC Edens added.
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