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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 18:02 GMT
Blunkett hails anti-nuisance law
David Blunkett
Street wardens are among those who will be enforcing the new laws
Hooligans who plague their communities will be "jumped on like a ton of bricks", said David Blunkett.

The home secretary was highlighting new powers that will allow police to shut down crack houses within 48 hours.

Officers will also be able to ensure they stay shut for up to six months instead of opening within hours under someone else's name.

Controversially, the Anti-Social Behaviour Act gives police-style powers to accredited security guards.

There's no point in giving police extra powers if there are not enough of them
David Davis
Mr Blunkett said: "Those who are causing misery to other people can expect to be jumped on like a ton of bricks.

"For those people who have day-to-day misery from neighbours from hell, who have to put up with people urinating outside their front door, we are giving them a right of appeal to do something about it."

To make use full use of the powers the home secretary warned that communities would have to work with the authorities - the government could not do everything on its own, he said.

On the accredited private security guards he said: "I don't think the people give a damn as to who employs the particular person or where they come from, so long as they are doing the job and they are properly accredited."

'Gimmick'

But Tory spokesman David Davis said: "A large number of the 'new' powers for the police already existed.

"Other parts of the bill were only necessary to remedy their own failed Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which had missed their target number by more than 90%.

"This latest gimmick is nowhere near the comprehensive strategy needed to tackle anti-social behaviour."

He added: "There's no point in giving police extra powers if there are not enough of them and if they are chained to their desks by paperwork and bureaucracy."

The Act also includes controversial measures for groups of people gathering in certain areas to be dispersed.

Those powers prompted opposition from children's charities when they went through Parliament last year.

Slimmer legislation

Mr Blunkett admitted the initial legislation for anti-social behaviour orders had been too bureaucratic.

The new slimmed down legislation would now enable councils and police to make proper use of the powers they have been given.

He said the measures would also cover people intimidating the public on the streets and also tackle firearms.

"We have delivered the powers people on the frontline wanted," he said. "They must now be used for the benefit of everyone."

Other measures included in the Anti-Social Behaviour Act are:

  • Criminalising the carrying of air guns in public "without lawful authority or excuse" to make it an arrestable offence

  • Age for legal possession of air weapons raised from 14 to 17

  • On-the-spot fines for offences such as throwing fireworks and making hoax 999 calls extended from adults only to 16 and 17-year-olds

  • Newspapers and local councils can name youngsters punished with anti-social behaviour orders.



WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Andrew Marr
"If they can get it early they can stop small miseries multiplying"



SEE ALSO:
How can you stop anti-social behaviour?
14 Oct 03  |  Have Your Say
Crime plans 'stigmatise' children
02 Oct 03  |  Scotland


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