New measures to tackle anti-social behaviour have been introduced by the government.
In its draft Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, the government has overhauled legislation by reducing the number of Orders from 19 to six while also giving businesses and communities a stronger voice when it comes to punishments and police response to crime.
Among the measures introduced are a Community Trigger which enables businesses to hold their local authorities and police force to account if they feel no action has been taken, and a Community Harm Statement which creates a recognised template for victims to communicate the harm caused by anti-social behaviour.
It has also launched a consultation on a Community Remedy measure which would give victims of low level crime and anti-social behaviour a say in the type of punishment handed down to an offender.
All the anti-social behaviour reforms contained in the draft bill will be scrutinised by the Home Affairs Select Committee, with a report due next year.
Home Office minister Jeremy Browne said the measures will help ensure independent retailers can run their businesses without living in fear.
“In many towns and cities across the country, convenience stores and local shops are the centre of the community, bringing people together every day,” he said. “However, many of these small businesses find themselves subject to persistent anti-social behaviour, from the intimidation of staff to outright criminal damage. The new powers the government is introducing will ensure that frontline professionals have the powers they need to deal with this anti-social behaviour faster and more effectively.”
Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman welcomed the measures.
“Anti-social behaviour around local shops blights the lives of retailers, staff, customers and communities themselves,” he said. “We are pleased the government has listened to retailers’ concerns by including them within the new community trigger. This means that businesses’ concerns must be taken seriously and prompt a response from the police and local authorities.”
According to recent ACS research, 69% of retailers have experienced some form of verbal or physical abuse in their job over the past year.