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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 11:55 GMT 12:55 UK
Rowdy residents 'to be shut out'
Home Office minister Vernon Coaker with police officer
Vernon Coaker said anti-social behaviour costs 3.4bn a year
Nuisance neighbours could face being shut out of their homes under proposed new powers, the Home Office has said.

The Criminal Justice Bill would allow police and councils to seal off persistent offenders' properties for up to 12 weeks, as a last resort.

The move follows consultation with police, local authorities, housing trusts and community groups.

The Home Office said it was aimed at tackling excessive noise, rowdy behaviour and frequent drunken parties.

The new measures will be based on existing crack house closure procedures and similar powers in force in Scotland.

They would apply to homeowners as much as social tenants, the Home Office said.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said responding to reports of anti-social behaviour costs about 3.4bn a year.

Sanctions must go hand in hand with support designed to encourage individuals to tackle the root causes of their behaviour before it become anti-social
Councillor Hazel Harding, LGA

Announcing the new powers on a visit to a crack house in west London, Mr Coaker said anti-social behaviour also had social and emotional impacts.

"I have heard from people living in areas affected by anti-social behaviour about the devastating impact just one property can have on a whole neighbourhood and I want to ensure that police and local authorities have the powers to deal with it," he said.

Councillor Hazel Harding, of the Local Government Association's Safer Communities board, said it was important to strike a balance.

"Sanctions must go hand in hand with support designed to encourage individuals to tackle the root causes of their behaviour before it become anti-social," she said.

Alan Gordon, vice-chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said: "We welcome any powers to enable police to act positively against any form of anti-social behaviour to improve the lives of residents."

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