More people are complaining about anti-social behaviour

A major increase in the number of people experiencing anti-social behaviour has led to calls for better rights for victims.

Government figures show 48% of people in the area served by West Midlands Police, nearly half, had experienced or witnessed anti-social behaviour in their local area last year.

This is up from 30%, just under a third of the population, four years previously.

And more than four in ten people said their area had a problem with people dealing or using drugs.

The statistics are from the British Crime Survey, which takes place every year, and cover Birmingham, Solihull, the Black Country and Coventry.

They were highlighted by the Labour Party, which said they illustrated the need to improve the rights of people who experience anti-social behaviour.

Nick Thomas-Symonds MP, Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, said: “The shocking rise in the number of people experiencing anti-social behaviour is a huge cause of concern for families and communities across the country.

“People deserve to feel safe and secure in their neighbourhoods and town centres, but under the Conservatives police numbers have been slashed, violent crime has risen to record levels, and anti-social behaviour has been left unchecked.

“Labour will work to put more police on our streets and would act where the Conservatives have failed and introduce a new Victims’ Law that would give victims of anti-social behaviour the same rights as victims of crimes.”

Police Minister Kit Malthouse speaking earlier this year said: “It is for Chief Constables and Police and Crime Commissioners, as operational leaders and elected local representatives, to decide how best to respond to individual crimes and local priorities.

“To help ensure that the police have the resources they need to do so we have given them the biggest funding increase in a decade and are recruiting 20,000 additional officers by March 2023, which provides extra resource to protect the public and keep us safe.”

At the moment, victims of crimes have rights set out in a Victim’s Code. They include the right to be kept informed about a police investigation, and to be given a reason if the investigation is ended. Victims must be told whether a case goes to court or not, and given an explanation if a decision is taken not to prosecute.

They are also entitled to provide a personal statement explaining how the crime has affected them, which can be read out in court or in a parole hearing, if an offender is considered for parole.

The British Crime Survey found one in five people in the West Midlands believed there was a problem with graffiti, vandalism or deliberate damage to property in their area, and one in five though there was a problem with people being drunk in public.

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