ASBO offenders will soon be forced to wear jumpsuits and clean up their mess
The government is set to crack down on anti-social behaviour ‘once and for all’ by forcing offenders to wear hi-viz jackets and jumpsuits while they clean up their crimes within 48 hours of offending.
Rishi Sunak said his new plan, set to be announced on Monday, seeks to dole out ‘immediate’ justice and ensure that communities can visibly see efforts to clean up vandalism and graffiti.
Other punishments could include picking up litter, washing police cars or doing unpaid work in shops, according to Downing Street.
Officials said the UK Government’s anti-social action plan was about establishing a ‘zero-tolerance approach where offenders know they will face the full consequences of their actions’.
Speaking ahead of the plan’s publication, the Prime Minister said: ‘For too long, people have put up with the scourge of anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods.
‘These are not minor crimes. They disrupt people’s daily lives, hold businesses back and erode the sense of safety and community that brings people together.
‘That’s why I’m bringing forward a new plan to crack down on this behaviour once and for all – so that everyone can feel proud of where they live.’
Mr Sunak will announce an approach known as immediate justice to be piloted in 10 areas before a rollout across England and Wales next year.
The plan is set to include new funding for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to ensure those responsible for offences that blight communities are punished as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister has set the target of having offenders who are slapped with community orders starting reparation work within 48 hours of being handed the punishment.
Mr Sunak dedicated a portion of his new year speech, setting out his five pledges ahead of the next election, on his ambitions to tackle anti-social behaviour.
He said that low-level offences made ‘life miserable for so many’ and argued the destructive form of behaviour could ‘be a gateway to more extreme crimes’.
According to officials, Mr Sunak’s plan will see offenders having to wear jumpsuits or hi-vis jackets and work under supervision as part of efforts to give the public confidence that justice is being done.
Where possible, low-level criminals will be tasked with cleaning up the mess they created.
If their anti-social activity has already been removed or repaired, they will instead be assigned projects to assist their community in other ways.
Ministers have pledged that victims and affected communities will get a say in deciding what type of punishment or consequences offenders should face, alongside input from local PCCs.
The immediate justice pilots come in addition to an expansion of the so-called community payback scheme for more serious criminals.
Currently, offenders are sentenced by courts to do unpaid work that directly benefits their local communities, such as cleaning up public places and removing graffiti.
Under Mr Sunak’s pilot idea, teams of offenders will be rapidly deployed to clean up more urgent incidents of anti-social behaviour, with the Probation Service delivering the work alongside selected councils.
According to Government figures, last year saw 1,500 offenders spend almost 10,000 hours on 300 community clean-up projects, with plans to double that this year.
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said cuts to neighbourhood policing had allowed offenders to ‘get away without punishment’.
He said: ‘Under 13 years of Conservative government, community sentences have plummeted by two-thirds.
‘And now they have finally realised how angry local people are, so once again following where Labour has led by trying to copy our plan on tough community payback.
‘It is embarrassing that all the Conservatives can come up with is a pilot in 10 areas – covering only a quarter of police forces. They are out of ideas and out of time.’
In a plan revealed last month, Labour announced proposals to put 13,000 more neighbourhood police on Britain’s streets and introduce ‘clean-up squads’ for fly-tippers if it wins power at the next election.
The party also said it wanted to establish community and victim payback boards to oversee strengthened community sentences.
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