RISHI Sunak promised to tackle the “scourge” of drugs, as he unveiled ambitious new measures to crack down on anti-social behaviour during a visit to Essex.

The Prime Minister made an appearance at Chelmsford Amateur Boxing Club this morning to officially launch the Government’s anti-social behaviour action plan.

Downing Street has pledged new moves that will see trials of swifter justice measures and increased policing in areas of England and Wales deemed to have high amounts of low-level crime.

The £160 million initiative will include an Essex-based trial of a new hotspot policing scheme, designed to come down hard on vandalism, graffiti, fly-tipping, the sale of laughing gas and careless driving.


Speaking at an event in Chelmsford on Monday, Mr Sunak said the rollout – which is set to come into effect next year – will see authorities, including Essex Police, receive greater powers to punish offenders.

The Prime Minister, who stressed the importance of “strong communities built on values”, said anti-social behaviour was “not the type of country that we are and that is why it is important we do something about it”.

Addressing the public he said: “It’s not OK for our children to have to deal with [anti-social behaviour] – that’s not the type of community we want, or the type of county that we are, so it’s important to do something about it.

“We are going to use more hotspot policing and immediate justice – [it will involve] a zero tolerance towards all forms of anti-social behaviour, especially drugs.

“We will ban nitrous oxide – [the drug] is not acceptable and we will also extend the power of police to do drug testing on arrest.

“We will give the police and local authorities the tools to combat anti-social behavoiur.”

As part of the trial, police officers will be granted greater power to arrest people for being drunk in public spaces, playing loud music, or letting a dog or animal intimidate other people.

Under current laws, police can have the power of arrest if anti-social behaviour includes the threat of violence, or poses a significant risk to others.

Community protection notices, which are designed to stop those aged 16 or over commit anti-social behaviour, will now apply to those under the age of 16.

Fixed penalty notices for fly tipping, which are currently limited at £400, will rise to £1,000, and those responsible for graffiti and littering could be fined up to £500 – more than double the current limit of £150.

Drug testing of criminals will also become more prevalent and more money will be ploughed into youth centres as part of a bid to eradicate behaviours spoiling Britain’s neighbourhoods.

Victims of anti-social behaviour will be given a say in how criminals are disciplined to ensure justice is visible and fits the crime.

Landlords and housing associations will also be given more powers to evict unruly tenants who create persistent noise and an anti-social behaviour taskforce will be set-up.


The Government is also planning on creating a reporting tool for the public to log anti-social behaviour and receive updates on any action to tackle it.

“It should be easy for you to say this is what I’ve seen, this is what’s going on and then have the local authorities and the police report back on what they’ve done about it so that you feel that your concerns are being listened to,” Mr Sunak said.