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Anti Social Behaviour 'Crushes Lives', MPs Say.

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Low-level anti-social behaviour "crushes lives" and "breeds criminality", MPs have warned.

The Home Affairs Select Committee said the government's flagship 'community trigger' - set up to replace the Asbo - was not enough to tackle the yobs on its own.

keith vaz

Keith Vaz chairs the Home Affairs Select Committee

Labour criticised the new policy, which is being trialled in some parts of the UK, saying it was barely being used.

But ministers said it was intended as a 'safety net', not the first port of call.

Under the community trigger, the police have to take action if more than five complaints are received.

But the report by the select committee says victims should have to complain five times before being guaranteed help.

A beefed-up policy would help cases such as the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter from happening again, the MPs said.

In its review of the government's draft anti-social behaviour bill, the committee said agencies should be named and held to account when they fail to act.

Meanwhile, Labour have released figures on the scheme's pilot.

It said there were 23,648 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in Manchester between June and October last year, while the community trigger was successfully activated just three times during that period.

Shadow Home Office minister Gloria De Piero said: "The Home Secretary's proposed community trigger is not the answer.

"Recommending that people have to wait until five complaints have been made before agencies have to act does not reflect the misery that can be caused by anti-social behaviour."

But Crime Prevention Minister Jeremy Browne said: "The community trigger is intended to be a safety net for the public if police and local authorities do not take action, not the first response when a problem occurs. It is one of a range of new measures which will make it easier and quicker for agencies to protect victims and communities from the blight of anti-social behaviour."

Home Affairs Select Committee chairman Keith Vaz said the cases of Ms Pilkington and Dr Suzanne Dow, who took their own lives after months of torment from locals, were "a wake-up call".

He said: "Anti-social behaviour is not something trivial that can be ignored - it can crush lives and breed criminality in our communities.

"The community trigger is meant to be the last line of defence to protect the public from anti-social behaviour. No one should have to complain more than five times before they see action."