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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Josh Salisbury

Rishi Sunak pledges to end ‘scourge of anti-social behaviour’ with new action plan

Offenders blighting their communities will be put to work in jumpsuits or hi-viz jackets to clean up their crimes within 48 hours of being handed punishments, Rishi Sunak will pledge.

The Prime Minister said his plan, due to be announced on Monday, would “crack down" on anti-social behaviour “once and for all".

A key plank of the measures will be making justice "immediate" and ensuring that communities can visibly see efforts to clean up vandalism and graffiti.

Other punishments could include picking up litter, washing police cars or doing unpaid work in shops, according to Downing Street.

Officials said the UK Government's anti-social action plan was about establishing a “zero-tolerance approach where offenders know they will face the full consequences of their actions".

Speaking ahead of the plan's publication, the Prime Minister said: “For too long, people have put up with the scourge of anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods.

“These are not minor crimes. They disrupt people's daily lives, hold businesses back and erode the sense of safety and community that brings people together.

“That's why I'm bringing forward a new plan to crack down on this behaviour once and for all - so that everyone can feel proud of where they live."

Mr Sunak will announce an approach known as immediate justice to be piloted in 10 areas before a rollout across England and Wales next year.

The plan is set to include new funding for police and crime commissioners (PCCs) to ensure those responsible for offences that blight communities are punished as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister has set the target of having offenders who are slapped with community orders starting reparation work within 48 hours of being handed the punishment.

Mr Sunak dedicated a portion of his new year speech, setting out his five pledges ahead of the next election, on his ambitions to tackle anti-social behaviour.

He said that low-level offences made "life miserable for so many" and argued the destructive form of behaviour could "be a gateway to more extreme crimes".

According to officials, Mr Sunak's plan will see offenders having to wear jumpsuits or hi-vis jackets and work under supervision as part of efforts to give the public confidence that justice is being done.

Where possible, low-level criminals will be tasked with cleaning up the mess they created.

If their anti-social activity has already been removed or repaired, they will instead be assigned projects to assist their community in other ways.

Ministers have pledged that victims and affected communities will get a say in deciding what type of punishment or consequences offenders should face.

The immediate justice pilots come in addition to an expansion of the so-called community payback scheme for more serious criminals.

Currently, offenders are sentenced by courts to do unpaid work that directly benefits their local communities, such as cleaning up public places and removing graffiti.

Under Mr Sunak's pilots idea, teams of offenders will be rapidly deployed to clean up more urgent incidents of anti-social behaviour, with the Probation Service delivering the work alongside selected councils.

According to Government figures, last year saw 1,500 offenders spend almost 10,000 hours on 300 community clean-up projects, with plans to double that this year.

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