It doesn’t go far enough – that’s the view of a campaigning Poole mum fighting years of abuse, over new measures to tackle anti-social behaviour.
A pilot scheme has been announced by Home Secretary Theresa May to run in the summer with local authorities.
Under the “community trigger”, action must be taken to tackle nuisance behaviour if five people across the same neighbourhood complain.
However the experience of Asher Nardone, mum of two and carer for her severely disabled son, on the Bourne Estate showed it was not about reporting abuse, but ensuring action was taken.
“Just because people report anti-social behaviour doesn’t give them any guarantee that their issues will be sorted,” she said.
“Look what happened at Grange Gardens. A lot of people kept reporting it. They moved one family out just down the road. It doesn’t matter how many report it, the problem has to be solved.”
She said: “The agencies mark their own homework which means that the real issues can be overlooked. The agencies, police, council and housing, all use different computer systems which record crimes and incidents and the data doesn’t correspond.”
An independent body needs to be set up to make random, unannounced inspections to check that services were looking after the needs of communities and victims, with penalties for those not performing, she said.
“This is not about simply reporting crime,” she said. “Crime has to be stopped and done quickly and efficiently.
Despite moving to another part of Poole, Asher is continuing her campaign against this behaviour.
“Low level anti-social behaviour has to be taken seriously because it is this which often spirals into serious crime,” she said.
The Home Secretary, who has been in correspondence with Asher, said: “It’s too easy to overlook the harm that persistent anti-social behaviour causes.
“Many police forces, councils and housing providers are working hard, but I still hear horror stories of victims reporting the same problem over and over again, and just getting no response.”
Asher Nardone was moved into a council house in Grange Gardens on the Bourne Estate with her two sons, Callum and Guarin in May 2006.
They became targets for a wave of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and abuse, beginning with the vandalism of her car and escalating into more intimidating abuse, including physical threats.
In February 2007, the Hambridge family, perpetrators of much of the ASB, were evicted from their Grange Gardens home by Poole Housing Partnership.
Despite meetings with the authorities, the abuse didn’t stop, and the tormentors came to taunt her as a “grass”. When a brick smashed through her window in December 2008 the council installed anti-shatter glass and CCTV cameras.
The single mum received a Home Office Respect award for standing up to ASB but a scathing Home Office report in 2010 found she had been completely failed by the authorities after years of abuse from what it termed the “local mafia”.
Abuse and threats continued and an anti-social behaviour order was finally issued in 2010. The family has now been moved out of the area.