Sunak pledges to ‘work tirelessly to crack down on anti-social behaviour’

Anti-social behaviour can be a “gateway to more extreme crimes”, Rishi Sunak said as he pledged to crack down on disorder in communities.

In a wide-ranging speech setting out his vision for the country in 2023, the Prime Minister said he wanted to provide fresh powers to ensure “these crimes will be quickly and visibly punished”.

Mr Sunak’s comments appeared to hark back to New Labour’s anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) and former prime minister David Cameron’s “hug-a-hoodie” policy.

Rishi Sunak visit to Plexal
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak set out his vision for the country (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

During his speech in east London on Wednesday, Mr Sunak said his government would focus on reducing crime and anti-social behaviour to make communities better and safer places to live.

“Strong communities are also built on values, on the golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated,” the Conservative Party leader said.

“But too often, a small minority break that golden rule.

“They spray graffiti on war memorials, discard needles and nitrous oxide canisters in children’s playgrounds, gang together and cause disorder and disruption.

Coronavirus � Wed Jun 3, 2020
Mr Sunak criticised people who discarded nitrous oxide canisters in playgrounds (Niall Carson/PA)

“Anti-social behaviour isn’t inevitable or a minor crime. It makes life miserable for so many and it can be a gateway to more extreme crimes.

“So this Government will work tirelessly to crack down on anti-social behaviour, giving police forces, mayors and local authorities the tools they need and giving communities confidence that these crimes will be quickly and visibly punished.”

Mr Sunak vowed to continue with the levelling-up vision of Boris Johnson, the Downing Street incumbent until he was ousted in September.

But he warned that “all the regeneration in the world won’t mean anything unless people feel safe in their communities”.

Mr Sunak said 20,000 police would have been hired by the spring — a promise made in the 2019 Tory manifesto.

But the pledge comes following cuts to frontline policing since 2010.

Setting out his crime priorities, the Prime Minister continued: “We’ve got to stop violence against women and girls.

“And let’s be frank — that means men taking responsibility for creating a culture and society where women are safe in their communities and at home.

“We’ve got to reduce reoffending, because a small number of career criminals account for a disproportionate amount of crime.

“And we’ve got to beat addiction, because heroin and crack addicts account for almost half of all robberies.”