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NEW POWERS TO COMBAT ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR

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Anyone who breaches new injunctions available to local councils will face immediate arrest from today as new powers...
Anyone who breaches new injunctions available to local councils will face immediate arrest from today as new powers to combat anti-social behaviour come into force.

The new powers enable local authorities in England and Wales to apply to the courts for an injunction, with a power of arrest attached, which will:

-- prohibit anti-social behaviour by anyone, not just a tenant, against tenants, those living with them, their visitors or anyone carrying out a lawful activity (for example rent collection) in residential premises, or in the locality of such premises (for example in communal areas), where there has been violence or threatened violence;

-- prohibit anyone from using local authority residential premises for immoral or illegal purposes; or from entering such premises, or being found in the locality.

The 1996 Act also provides for local housing authorities and other social landlords (for example housing associations and housing action trusts) to apply for a power of arrest to be attached to an injunction which it has taken out, to:

-- prevent a breach or anticipated breach of a tenancy agreement in

nuisance cases, where there has been violence or threatened violence.

Anyone who breaches such an injunction can be arrested without a

warrant and brought before a judge within 24 hours.

The new legislation is intended to assist and support good housing management. The government is building further on this with its proposals in the forthcoming Crime and Disorder Bill for Community Safety Orders, and for a new statutory duty on local authorities to develop Community Safety Plans to help prevent crime and enhance community safety.

Local authorities can already tackle anti-social behaviour on their estates in a variety of ways, by:

-- operating an introductory tenancy scheme, where new tenants are

required to complete a probationary period of 12 months before their

tenancy is made secure

-- using injunctions to prevent unruly behaviour, or breaches of

tenancy agreements, by existing tenants

-- tightening up tenancy agreements, to make them more easily

enforceable

-- improving design and security on estates

NOTES

1. Part V of the Housing Act 1996: Conduct of Tenants, strengthens

the powers available to local authorities and other social landlords

to deal with anti-social behaviour by tenants and their visitors.

2. Chapter III of Part V (sections 152 to 158 (with the exception

of section 155(2)(b) and (3) to (7) inclusive, section 156 and Schedule 15, which deal with remand)) comes into force on 1 September

1997. Fact sheets setting out the provisions in Part V of the Housing

Act 1996 are available from the Press Office. Anyone breaching the

new injunctions could face imprisonment.

3. Chapters I and II of Part V of the Housing Act 1996, which

enable local authorities to operate an introductory tenancy scheme,

and strengthen existing grounds for possession against secure tenants

in nuisance cases, came into force on 12 February 1997.

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