Residents to get Asbo powers

Tenants on council estates to get powers to issue Asbos
Tenants on council estates to get powers to issue Asbos

Residents groups on council estates will be able to issue anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) under the latest plan from the government's 'respect' agenda.

Tony Blair announced that team management organisations (TMOs), which already have powers to collect rent, allocate social housing and manage lettings on behalf of local councils, will now be able to take action against yobs on their estates.

The news comes as the government unveiled a new £485 million investment to modernise 55,000 council homes over the next year, to help local authorities meet their target to modernise all such houses by 2010.

The prime minister said proper safeguards would be introduced to ensure local residents did not abuse their Asbo powers, but argued that the new scheme would ensure those most affected by anti-social behaviour could take action.

"No-one knows better how to transform a community than the people that live there. Nothing undermines a sense of community more than the kind of disruptive and aggressive actions that we associate with anti-social behaviour," he said.

"Local people are increasingly playing a bigger role in the decisions that affect them and the areas in which they live.

"The new extended powers will ensure that those people who are most affected by anti-social behaviour can take the swift action that is needed to stamp it out."

Asbos are highly controversial, both for the way they restrict the subjects' movements - they can stop people going out at a certain time of day, or into a certain part of town - and whether they actually work in controlling bad behaviour.

Mr Blair made today's announcement after a round-table discussion with communities secretary Ruth Kelly at Downing Street. She argued that such powers were necessary, alongside material improvements, to ensure social housing tenants' quality of life.

"Poor housing can make areas unpopular to live in and create a bad reputation," Ms Kelly said.

"The ongoing investment we are putting into decent homes together with the growing role for tenants in shaping their own environments is transforming not just individual homes but entire communities."

Last month, the government's respect tsar, Louise Casey, announced that extra money would be available for the 40 local authorities with the worst anti-social problems. Details of the funding and which councils will receive it will be announced this month.


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