Frank Field MP
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Wirral Older People’s Parliament

7
Dec
And so to the Older People’s Parliament.  I had agreed to speak on anti-social behaviour.  I had no idea just how engaged the Parliament would be with this topic.
 
I have looked at Labour’s strategy to counter anti-social behaviour.  I lobbied against the form it took.  I believe modelling it on the criminal justice system was a mistake.
 
The aim of the policy must be to prevent anti-social behaviour, not create criminals.
 
The Coalition Government is undertaking a review as the number of orders is falling and the numbers of people breaking the orders is growing.
 
The idea I have put to the review is to put communities not officials in the driving seat.  There is already a statute that allows neighbours affronted by anti-social behaviour to go into court, to ask for a warrant to be issued against the offenders but, because the Bench will rule that this is a private action, the warrant is not enforced by the police.
 
The simple reform I proposed to the Government is to give magistrates the discretionary power to rule that the neighbours before the Bench do represent a public and not just a private interest.  Once it’s a public interest the magistrates can instruct the police to enforce the warrants and bring the culprits into court that day.
 
Neighbourhood watch schemes would be an ideal body through which to pilot this reform.  That was the suggestion made by the Older People’s Parliament and it is one which I have put to Lord Henley, the Home Office Minister undertaking the review on anti-social behaviour.
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