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ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR BILL MEASURES UNVEILED

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A package of measures to tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour was unveiled today. ...
A package of measures to tackle the scourge of anti-social behaviour was unveiled today.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Etc. (Scotland) Bill will make the legal framework for tackling the problem more effective, and marks the latest stage in the executive's anti-social behaviour action plan for the second parliament.

The Bill follows a summer of unprecedented consultation when communities, organisations and individuals across Scotland delivered a clear message to Ministers that they were fed up of anti-social behaviour and wanted action from Government.

Speaking as the 13-part Bill was published today, first minister Jack McConnell said:

'Our job as politicians is to listen - and act - on the concerns of those who elect us. A major concern of Scots of all ages and across all communities is anti-social behaviour.

'It doesn't matter where I go or who I speak to, people are quick to tell me of the damage and despair that anti-social behaviour in its many forms brings to them and their neighbourhoods.

'The vast majority of young Scots are a credit to themselves, their communities and Scotland. They are as fed-up as the other law-abiding people in our communities of the intimidation and disruption to their lives caused by mindless thugs.

'Our proposals send out a strong message to all Scots suffering from anti-social behaviour that we have listened to what they have said, that we understand and have taken action. Most of all, that anti-social behaviour in all its forms is not acceptable in Scotland any longer.

'It damages lives, reduces opportunities and undermines investment in communities. We will not let the behaviour of a small minority have such a corrosive impact on the lives of the majority.

'Decent, hard-working families want politicians on their side. They want us to challenge those who say and seem to accept nothing can be done. And above all else, they want to live in peace and get respect back in their communities. This Bill wil l help make that happen.'

Communities minister Margaret Curran added:

'This summer's consultation emphasised to me in the clearest, starkest terms that anti-social behaviour is a serious problem that must be dealt with, and that we are right to make it a key priority.

'This Bill and our wider strategy are about changing people's behaviour, not just dealing with the consequences of their actions. Our proposals are not about targeting any particular groups in our society. Anti-social behaviour is not just caused by young people or any other group. It is caused by a majority of selfish, irresponsible and criminal people of all ages. These are the people we want to target.

'The policy package we are unveiling today aims not only to tackle anti-social behaviour but to promote positive social behaviour. We put prevention first, voluntary measures next, but will have tough and effective sanctions for those who persistently fail to respond. There are gaps in the law, gaps we intend to plug.

'The key to success will be committed and joined-up working across the executive and all relevant agencies involved. And it will also depend on the active involvement of our communities.

'The job of government is to stand up for people and the things that matter to them - their families, their jobs, safety and security. We need to bring respect back into our communities, to help create a better, safer Scotland. We said at the outset that we wanted to put our communities first. This Bill does that.'

The key provisions of the Bill include:

-- Extension of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) to under-16s

-- Parenting Orders

-- Electronic monitoring (tagging) of under-16s

-- Ban the sale of spray paint to under-16s

-- Anti-Social Behaviour strategies in local authority areas

-- More effective ASBOs

-- Targeted powers to disperse groups

-- Closure of premises (eg drinking or drug 'dens')

-- Enhanced noise nuisance power s

-- Environmental measures tackling fly-tipping and litter

-- Community Reparation Orders

-- Fixed Penalties for anti-social behaviour

-- Local authorities being held accountable for duty to implement supervision requirements and educate children excluded from school

The consultation paper 'Putting our Communities First - A Strategy for Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour' was published on 26 June. The consultation closed on 11 September.

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