Police get power over anti-social shops

15 June, 2007

Shops

which the authorities think are causing a nuisance to the community could be closed down for up to three months .

The forthcoming Criminal Justice Bill will allow councils and the police to shut and seal problem premises .

Both commercial properties and homes will be subject to the new law, which the Home Office sees as a way to stamp out anti-social behaviour.

Home Office minister Vernon Coaker said: "The cost of responding to reports of anti-social behaviour is estimated at around £3.4 billion a year, but this ignores the emotional and social impacts . I have heard from people living in areas affected by anti-social behaviour about the devastating impact just one property can have on a whole neighbourhood and I want to ensure that police and local authorities have the powers to deal with it."

Closures will be used as last resort and will have to be referred to the courts once

notice has been served notice on them.

The Association of Convenience Stores' public affairs manager Shane Brennan said the announcement was a worry, but

retailers were already subject to tough measures through the Licensing Act.

He said the main concern for off-licences

was the

power

available to

local authorities and

police under the Licensing Act and the Violent Crime Reduction Act."




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