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Anti-social behaviour squads unveiled by home secretary

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Home secretary Jacqui Smith has announced action squads will work with police and councils to tackle persistent perpetrators of anti-social behaviour.

It is intended the specialist teams will ensure councils make full use of their anti-social behaviour powers. The Home Office has also produced anti-social behaviour guidance for councils.

The squads scheme is similar to a project, praised by Ms Smith, run by Essex Police. People committing anti-social behaviour received daily police visits, constant warnings and were sometimes put under 24-hour surveillance.

Multi-agency approach

Ms Smith said: “The government is firmly on the side of communities where people have had enough and there will be no escape for persistent offenders.

"If you can't behave properly it won't just be the police watching you, but local councils, housing benefit officers, the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency and the TV Licensing authority."

LGA sceptical

A Local Government Association spokesman said: "This strikes me as a little like the Home Office trying to exert its authority over the agencies involved in crime reduction.

"Local authorities are best placed to know which tools are appropriate in tackling the anti-social behaviour that affects them. The situation in Lambeth is going to be very different from that in a nice shire district."

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