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Letter from Home Secretary on anti-social behaviour during COVID

Dear Vera,

Thank you for your letter of 14 August regarding your concerns about an increase in antisocial behaviour (ASB) during the COVID-19 lockdown.

I can assure you that I share your concerns regarding the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities, and that the Government is committed to ensuring victims of ASB get the response they deserve.

I am pleased to see that the latest CSEW statistics show a continued fall in ASB incidents (up to March), but I recognise that we must not be complacent, particularly in these unusual times. We have met regularly with the ASB National Policing Lead’s staff officer, the ASB lead in the Local Government Association and MHCLG during the pandemic. The issue of potential rises in ASB as a result of lockdown have been raised in these meetings, often related to concerns about breaches of lockdown and social-distancing measures and we continue to monitor this closely as these measures ease.

I agree that it is vital that victims have their voices heard and, as you are aware, the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced specific measures designed to give both them and their communities a say in the way that complaints of anti-social behaviour are dealt with. This includes the Community Trigger, which gives victims of persistent anti-social behaviour the ability to demand a formal case review, where a locally defined threshold is met, in order to determine whether there is further action which can be taken. I would also note that under the 2014 Act, relevant bodies must publish information about the Community Trigger, including their current review procedures and the number of applications received and reviews held.

I understand that it was agreed at the ASB Strategic Board in October 2019, which you attended, that more action was needed to raise awareness of the Community Trigger amongst communities, local authorities, PCCs and law enforcement, and we continue to work with the Board in order to do so. The Home Office have recently refreshed the ASB webpages on GOV.uk to make information on ASB and the Community Trigger more easily accessible: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/anti-social-behaviour-crime-and-policing-bill-antisocial-behaviour. This includes creating a new page with key information on the process and requirements of the Community Trigger: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/anti-social-behaviour-asbcase-review-also-known-as-the-community-trigger. The Minister for Safeguarding has also written out to all MPs to raise awareness of the ASB powers available to their local areas.

These awareness raising activities are intended to provide a starting point to address the issues you have previously raised. The Government will monitor their effectiveness and then consider whether any further action is required. Progress can be discussed at the next ASB Strategic Board, which should be taking place in the Autumn.

In the meantime, I understand that you will be meeting with my officials next month to discuss your proposals in further detail and I look forward to hearing the outcomes of that meeting.

Thank you, once again, for taking the time to write to me.

Rt Hon Priti Patel MP