Rishi Sunak today vows that those whose lives are blighted by antisocial behaviour will have a say in how the culprits are punished.
Heralding a major Government blitz on crime and vandalism, the Prime Minister pledges to put ‘community justice’ at the heart of the clampdown.
It will mean giving victims and local residents a say in what punishments are meted out – such as placing vandals in shaming jumpsuits while they publicly repair the damage they caused.
Speaking exclusively to The Mail on Sunday ahead of the launch of the new package, the Prime Minister said: ‘The community fightback starts now.’
On-the-spot fines for those caught fly-tipping will more than double from £400 to £1,000, while those littering or spraying graffiti face being hit with £500 fines – up from the current £150 maximum.
The Prime Minister warned criminals that the community response ‘starts now’ as he introduces a crackdown on petty crime (pictured at PMQs)
Fly-tipping is one offence on the government’s radar and on-the-stop fines will more than double to £1,000 (file image)
Ministers are also considering plans for suspects to be tested for drugs as part of a ‘hotspot’ policing strategy, which comes in response to shocking evidence that half of all crime is carried out in just five per cent of areas.
Community patrols will also be given a funding boost to help tackle the menace.
There are also likely to be new laws against nuisance begging and a ban on the sale and possession of nitrous oxide – laughing gas – to combat the scourge of empty metal canisters littering the streets where youths congregate, as well as enhanced powers for landlords to evict problem tenants.
Mr Sunak said: ‘Dropping litter, fly-tipping and graffitiing show an unacceptable lack of respect for everyone else in a community. While many up and down the country work so hard to make communal areas such as high streets, town squares and parks look beautiful, a small minority tarnish them through their selfish, thoughtless actions. It’s not right and it’s not fair.
‘Women and girls should feel safe walking home at night. Parents should feel able to let their children play without fear. Everyone should be able to feel pride in the area they call home. So we will give police the powers they need to tackle this scourge and Mail on Sunday readers will get a chance to have their say over what punishments they think fit the crimes.
‘To those who inflict this blight, let me warn you: the community fightback starts now.’
No 10 hopes the changes, which come into effect later this year, will add to the political momentum gathering behind Mr Sunak since he struck a post-Brexit deal with the EU over Northern Ireland and legislated to tackle the small-boats crisis.
The policies have coincided with a narrowing in Labour’s opinion poll lead, while private research by the Tories indicates their reputation on law and order remains one of their few potential trump cards to win over swing voters ahead of next year’s expected Election.
But Labour is likely to accuse the Tories of stealing one of its flagship ideas. The party pledged last year to create ‘community and victim payback boards’ to strengthen local involvement in sentencing, reduce antisocial behaviour and stop more serious offending.
The new Government measures, which will include extra funding for police and crime commissioners, is intended to ensure that crimes are more swiftly and visibly punished, with the aim that offenders will start work within 48 hours of receiving an order.
The plan will be tested in ten areas before being rolled out across England and Wales next year.
The most eye-catching element is the proposal for offenders to wear jumpsuits or high-vis jackets while cleaning up graffiti, picking up litter or washing police cars.
The ‘Community Payback’ scheme, under which more serious offenders are sentenced to do unpaid work such as cleaning up public places, will also be extended.
No 10 is also planning to change the rules so money from fines will be reinvested into clean-up and enforcement activity to offset some of the £732 million councils spent on litter and fly-tipping last year.
Fines will be reinvested into clean-up and enforcement activity to offset some of the £732 million councils spent on litter and fly-tipping last year (file image)
The new Government measures, which will include extra funding for police and crime commissioners, are intended to ensure that crimes are more swiftly and visibly punished (file image)
In a further move to restore civic pride – part of Michael Gove’s Levelling Up agenda – the most crime-hit areas will be given a £5 million boost to renovate local parks, and tens of millions more will be pledged to sport and community clubs to try to divert young people from antisocial behaviour.
Ministers are also considering new powers to move on beggars asking for money near cashpoints or at transport hubs, with persistent offenders required to sign up to a support scheme including accommodation and mental health help.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We’re determined to put an end to the corrosive effects of antisocial behaviour, which in too many places has worn down people’s sense of safety, security and pride of place.
‘That’s why – as well as tackling these unacceptable crimes – we’re also putting funding into revitalising neighbourhoods so people can feel proud of where they call home.’
Post source: The List