Watch chairman welcomes plans

NEW Government proposals to better deal with anti-social youths have been welcomed by the chairman of Nottingham Road’s Neighbourhood Watch in Eastwood.

The Home Office is working with the Ministry of Justice on using ‘community triggers’ which would force police to investigate incidents of anti-social behaviour if they were reported several times.

Ray Marsden said the triggers would be a good idea because residents get annoyed with the time it takes to deal with each incident.

“An early trigger of complaints really would be very useful,” he said.

“I spoke to two people recently in this area who said it’s the delay with getting it sorted that they hate.

“One person said they waited 12 months and nothing had happened. It does seem something that is necessary. Incidents currently seem to get lost in a process which seems to take quite a long time.

“Anti-social behaviour causes a lot of stress and the earlier we can deal with it the better.”

‘Community triggers’ would force police and local authorities to investigate incidents of anti-social behaviour reported by at least five people, or by one individual three times.

All complainants would be informed of the planned action within 14 days.

Special crime commissioners, set to be introduced in 2012, would also be given powers under the plans.

But the Neighbourhood Watch chairman said he was unsure about another part of the scheme which would widen the use of ‘asset seizures’.

He said he would want to find out more about the proposals before he threw his weight behind them.

“I’m not sure about taking things off people,” he said.

“If it’s the cause of the complaint, then maybe it’s a good idea.

“If it’s necessary to remove the problem then yes, but if it’s solely to do with taking things off people then I wouldn’t like to say.”

The proposals would mean items such as iPods, passports and other personal items could be confiscated, subject to approval from the courts.

The proposed anti-social behaviour law changes are going out to public consultation until May 3.

They are expected to become law later this year or early next year.

They would replace 18 of the formal powers currently available to police and local authorities, including the anti-social behaviour order – known as an ASBO – introduced by the previous government.

Across Nottinghamshire ASBOs were breached an average of 5.3 times, compared with a national average of 4.4 times, between April 1 and December 31, 2009.