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Hansard 26 June: Column 642 ...
Hansard 26 June: Column 642

Home secretary Jack Straw will effectively relaunch anti-social behaviour orders when he addresses the Local Government Association annual conference tomorrow.

Mr Straw told MPs the courts had imposed 79 such orders since they were introduced last April, but he wanted them to used more widely.

'On Wednesday I shall speak to the annual conference of the Local Government Association, and will there be publishing a new protocol - agreed by the local authorities and the police - to provide a renewed impetus to tackle this serious problem'.

The home secretary agreed with former Welsh secretary Alun Michael that it was right to use the the orders to prevent anti-social behaviour and the test should not be the number of orders, but

the safety of the general public. 'Where a message has gone out from courageous local authorities working with the police - in Coventry, for example - the level of anti-social behaviour has gone down', said Mr Michael.

The home secretary said the police reported that in many cases the mere threat of an anti-social behaviour order had been sufficient to ensure the behaviour concerned had been moderated.

Maria Eagle, Labour MP for Liverpool Garston, said even in her city, where they orders had been used relatively extensively, they had become a weapon of last resort instead of a tool of early

intervention. She asked Mr Straw to join her in contacting Merseyside Police and the local authority suggesting they should intervene and use the orders at an early stage.

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