‘Three strikes’ to tackle rural yobs

RESIDENTS troubled by anti-social behaviour in some of South Holland’s most isolated rural areas could benefit from plans for a new “three strikes” rule being considered.

The Government is drawing up plans for a shake-up of anti-social behaviours which could see the old Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) replaced with a system designed to make sure police take low-level nuisance more seriously.

And the plan has been welcomed by South Holland district councillor Roger Gambba-Jones, who had written to South Holland and Deepings MP John Hayes calling for tougher measures to tackle problems.

He said: “Six months ago the Government put out a consultation about plans to replace ASBOs with this complaints system, which means that if five people make a complaint about anti-social behaviour the police are obliged to do something about it.

“After seeing that I wrote to John Hayes to say that in rural areas such as South Holland there are some locations where there aren’t five neighbours to make a complaint, but people who do live in these isolated spots can still suffer anti-social behaviour and be affected by these sort of problems.

“I asked him to talk to the Minister to see if there were any other ways to deal with the problem.

“I’m not saying it is a result of that letter but I am very pleased to see they have introduced what is effectively a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ system.”

The new proposal will mean that if one individual makes three complaints about anti-social behaviour, police are also obliged to take it seriously and do something about it.

Under the new scheme, outlined in a Government White Paper published last week, yobs could be made the subject of a new court order or a civil injunction aimed at targeting specific activities.

Separate Crime Prevention Injunctions would be aimed at stopping bad behaviour before it escalates and would need a lower level of proof than the criminal orders.

Coun Gambba-Jones added: “It’s definitely a step forward, particularly for people in rural areas, but we will have to wait to see how it works in reality.”