Saturday, 4 October 2008

Closure Order

My department has been working with the local police and other agencies to curb anti social behaviour from a very small minority of council tenants.

When I was first elected over a year ago, I posted on the subject of those who lead 'chaotic lifestyles'.

A closure order means that the tenant is banned from their property for a period of time, in this case three months, and the property is boarded up and sealed.

The process is not taken lightly, and takes time to achieve. During the process, all manner of help and support is offered to the tenant, but if that doesn't work we are left with little option.

In this case, it was a 16 year old girl whose neighbours had complained about vandalism, noise, arguments, fighting, drinking and parties at all hours.

The police had been called to the address 36 times this year.

Now I appreciate that there may be (ok I know) that there are a number of sandal wearing, hand wringing apologists for those with chaotic lifestyles who make their neighbours lives a misery, and indeed terrify their neighbours. But personally, as someone who wants people to be able to live their lives peacefully and enjoyably, I have little sympathy for someone who has declined all of the (very expensive) help and support offered and continues to behave in a way that consistently has a profoundly negative impact on other people.

I think in some ways, the anti social behaviour, often fuelled by drink and/or drugs is not the problem, but a symptom of the bigger issue that we are living in a broken society, and that is not something that local authorities or the police can solve.

6 comments:

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I'm trying to catch up with everyone's posts atm, but I think this one makes a really good point.
There simply aren't the consequences in society to make people curb their behaviour. Those who take advantage, particularly of the benefits system know full well that nothing will really happen to them because ultimately the system may sanction to a degree but continues to support people regardless of their behaviour.
I'm not sure why politicians find the idea of removing all benefits so unappealing, nor am I sure how to comfortably set out a system which would protect the most vulnerable from those kind of sanctions but it needs to be done.
BG
PS Sarah Palin, really?!

Stuart W said...

"I think in some ways, the anti social behaviour, often fuelled by drink and/or drugs is not the problem, but a symptom of the bigger issue that we are living in a broken society, and that is not something that local authorities or the police can solve."

Irrespective of how the problem is labelled (and clearly David Cameron has come in for a lot of stick for the term 'broken society'), perhaps the point is that the police and local authorities and an integral part of the problem rather than innocent bystanders, ie contrary to what JM's quote seems to imply?

Jim said...

Hi BG,

I wondered what happened to you!

Thanks for your comment.

J

PS Sarah Palin? Absolutely :-)

Jim said...

Hi Stewart,

Thanks for your comment.

I'd be interested to hear more of your thoughts on this to be honest.

National legislation means councils are largely bound to keep picking up the pieces again and again of anti social behaviour.

The amount of resources required to do so is horrific.

There surely must come a point in a case when a local authority can say 'enough'?

It's one thing to know your rights, it's another to know your responsibilities.

J

Stuart W said...

Hi Jim, I wrote a lengthy response to your post last night, but my computer froze and I lost it just before posting it, so I can't be bothered doing it again.

However, suffice to say that while I agree with you about resources and the like, my point was more about the role of the authorities in creating the "broken society", and how they've contributed to the pushing back/abandonment of rules and boundaries, which I'm sure we can agree is the basic problem, although we might disagree about how we got there and how to reverse things.

If I ever get my blog and/or website set up then I'll no doubt rehash the arguments in more detail.

Jim said...

Hi Stewart,

I'm sorry that happened, especially as I'm not sure what you mean by authorities pushing back the boundaries, but I'll look forward to reading more about it when your own blog gets up and running.

Cheers

Jim