Welsh Affairs Committee

Session 2004-05

22 March 2005


Press Notice No 10

Report Published:

FOURTH REPORT: POLICE SERVICE, CRIME AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR IN WALES

HC 46 OF SESSION 2004-05

Police success in tackling anti-social behaviour should not be measured by simply totalling up the number of ASBOs issued, warns a report published today into police, crime and anti-social behaviour in Wales. The cross party report from the Welsh Affairs Committee says the Government’s current approach is crude and discriminates against forces that have developed other initiatives to reduce anti-social behaviour.

Many forces across Wales have successfully implemented early, staged interventions to tackle anti-social behaviour and are only using ASBOs as a last resort. However, the focus on ASBO numbers means that their methods aren’t officially counted as successes and as a result Welsh forces have appeared to be performing poorly when in fact they are making real headway in tackling anti-social behaviour.

The Committee is calling on the Government to introduce a better measurement for success that reflects the Welsh approach.  Commenting, Committee Chairman Martyn Jones MP said:

“In the absence of any other measure, the Government uses the number of ASBOs issued as a benchmark for success. The problem is that this doesn’t reflect the experience of Welsh forces who are successfully using other methods to tackle anti-social behaviour and only relying on ASBOs as a last resort.”

“ASBOs are one important part of the police’s arsenal but there are others that have not yet been acknowledged. Credit should be given where it is due and that means the Government must recognise that the number of ASBOs issued doesn't automatically equate to levels of success on the ground.”

“The Government should introduce a new measurement that takes account of other methods such as staged interventions that are being effectively utilised, instead of focusing solely on ASBOs”

The Committee also recommends:

• the Government establishes a clearer definition of what constitutes anti-social behaviour so that strategies can be better designed to combat that behaviour

• clear guidelines be given to magistrates so that ASBOs can be issued quickly, when considered necessary

The Report welcomes the introduction of local targets in the National Policing plan which will allow Welsh police forces to concentrate their efforts better on the needs and concerns of their local communities.

However, the Committee recommends that

• the Government introduce a streamlined approach to performance measurements to reduce the impact of data collection on the police

• the replacement of the current complex and confusing funding streams with long-term simplified and reliable revenue sources for Welsh police forces.

The Committee will hold a press conference at 11.00am in Committee Room 16, House of Commons on Wednesday 23 March 2005


Membership of the Committee: Mr Martyn Jones MP (Chairman), Mr Martin Caton MP, Mr Huw Edwards MP, Mr Nigel Evans MP, Dr Hywel Francis MP, Julie Morgan MP, Albert Owen MP, Mr Mark Prisk MP, Mrs Betty Williams MP, Hywel Williams MP and Mr Roger Williams MP.