Community triggers to be tested in Brighton and Hove

Posted On 22 May 2012 at 7:56 pm

Brighton and Hove is one three places to pilot a new policy intended to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

The pilot was officially announced today (Tuesday 22 May) by the Home Secretary Theresa May as she published a white paper called “Putting victims first – more effective responses to antisocial behaviour”.

The white paper said: “We have proposed introducing a community trigger as part of our reforms to the tools for tackling anti-social behaviour.

“The trigger would give victims and communities the right to demand that agencies who had ignored repeated complaints about anti-social behaviour take action.”

Theresa May

The Home Secretary announced the community trigger at the Association of Chief Police Officers summer conference in Manchester.

Along with Brighton and Hove, Manchester and West Lindsey in Lincolnshire will pilot the policy from a week tomorrow (Wednesday 1 June).

The government intends to leave it to local authorities to decide and publish the thresholds, criteria, process and reporting mechanisms that they intend to use for the community trigger. It did say, though, that there should be a single point of contact.

In Manchester, for example, the threshold for the trigger will be behaviour causing harassment, alarm and distress based on

  • three or more complaints from one individual about the same problem, where no action has been taken, or
  • five individuals complaining about the same problem where no action has been taken by relevant agencies.

Victims will be able to activate the trigger by filling in a simple online form, by letter or by telephone.

Councillor Ben Duncan, chairman of the Brighton and Hove Community Safety Forum, said: “Badly behaved neighbours destroy lives.

“This is why the council takes a tough stance against anti-social behaviour that employs intensive support to help families tackle the root causes of their behaviour whether that is mental illness, bad parenting skills or alcohol and drug abuse.

“We are one of only a handful of authorities planning to trial new initiatives including the community trigger that will build on the excellent outcomes that the Anti-Social Behaviour and Hate Incidents Team already achieve and improve the ways in which local residents can bring matters to our attention through the local action teams and Community Safety Forum.

Councillor Ben Duncan

“The community trigger is an interesting proposal and worth examining in a practical environment as it could further increase our accountability to the community and help find new solutions to what are difficult problems.

“This is about highlighting an issue and working together to solve it.”

Chief Inspector Bruce Mathews, head of the Brighton and Hove Safe in the City Delivery Unit, said: “Agencies and communities working together to tackle and reduce the harm caused by anti-social behaviour and hate-motivated incidents have an excellent track record of success in the city.

“We are keen to build further on these successes by being involved in piloting the community trigger here in Brighton and Hove.

“We have recently brought together key community safety services and neighbourhood policing in Brighton and Hove to further enhance and build on our work in positively responding to communities and what matters most to them.

“The early benefits of this work are starting to have an impact already.

“For example, agencies across the city are using a vulnerability assessment for victims and witnesses of anti-social behaviour and hate incidents.

“This identifies the levels of harm, risk and vulnerability of the person and enables agencies to better respond to their circumstances and needs.

“We will read the wider proposals from the Home Office with great interest in terms of how new legislation will work for us in tackling anti-social behaviour and hate incidents such as the Crime Prevention Injunction, the Criminal Behaviour Order and the Police Directions Power.

“We are interested in making the most of opportunities to further improve our work in responding to and working alongside communities.”

The community trigger pilot project in Brighton and Hove is expected to last between 6 and 12 months.

The lessons learnt may be taken into account when the Home Office turns the ideas in the white paper into a bill – or draft law – which is expected to be published next year.

The challenges include agreeing a way to prevent individuals being targeted by unsubstantiated, frivolous, malicious or vexatious complaints.

The police and crime commissioner – to be elected in November – may have a role in handling unresolved complaints about the response of the authorities to the community trigger.

 

  1. John Knowles Reply

    I am interested in how the trigger community scheme is working in Brighton and Hove and how we might replicate this on Hastings and St Leonards-on-sea, could someone contact me.

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