Writing in this week's Redditch Standard (March 31st), Rachel said:
Anti-social behaviour blights lives and communities. It prevents people from spending time where they live, makes women and girls feel unsafe, and erodes a sense of community.
To tackle this head on, this week the Prime Minister has launched the Government’s Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan – a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, ensuring you feel safe no matter where you live in Redditch.
Under the zero-tolerance approach, Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” will be banned to send a clear message to intimidating gangs that hang around our town centre and children’s parks and litter them with empty canisters, that they will not get away with this behaviour.
Laughing gas is now the third most used among 16 to 24-year-olds in England and the police have repeatedly reported links between use of this drug and nuisance or anti-social behaviour. Having spoken to the local police about this issue and spoken in a debate in Parliament where I called on the Government to ban this drug, I’m pleased to see decisive action to get laughing gas off our streets.
16 areas in England and Wales will be funded to support either new ‘hotspot’ police and enforcement patrols in areas with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour, or trial a new ‘Immediate Justice’ scheme to deliver swift and visible punishments. These areas will be announced as soon as possible.
Under the Immediate Justice scheme, those found committing anti-social behaviour will be made to repair the damage they inflicted on victims and communities, with an ambition for them to start work as soon as 48 hours after their offence so victims know antisocial behaviour is treated seriously and with urgency.
Offenders, who will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits and work under supervision, could be made to pick up litter, remove graffiti and wash police cars as punishment for their actions, and victims of antisocial behaviour from the local community will be given a say in offenders’ punishments to ensure justice is visible and fits the crime.
This new crackdown is on top of the work that is ongoing in Redditch to tackle anti-social behaviour. With police officer numbers in West Mercia set to reach their highest number on record, to £430,000 from the Safer Streets Fund for Greenlands to improve community safety, we’re determined to tackle anti-social behaviour and restoring pride in our communities.