Home Secretary Suella Braverman vows 'hippy crack' ban will stop 'youths ... trends now
Criminalising so-called 'hippy crack' will stop hordes of youths 'loitering in and littering parks', Suella Braverman claimed today.
The Home Secretary faced down critics of the Government's new anti-social behaviour drive, which would see nitrous oxide - also known as laughing gas - become a Class C drug by the end of the year.
Labour and other critics attacked the move to target a substance which causes little actual crime. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs also recently concluded it would be disproportionate to bring in an outright ban.
But facing MPs in the Commons today, Ms Braverman said ministers were 'entitled and expected to take a broader view'. She cited 'emerging evidence that it does cause serious harm to health and wellbeing' as being behind the ban.
'By doing so, this Government will put an end to hordes of youths loitering in and littering parks with empty canisters,' she added.
It came after Rishi Sunak was berated at a Q&A session over how to stop noisy parties in Airbnb rentals.
The Prime Minister was cornered in Chelmsford this morning as he launched the £160million package of proposed reforms.
His anti-social behaviour action plan outlines a proposed council register of such holiday lets, so that 'if a let proves problematic, they can take action against guests and owners'.
And Jeff Jones told the PM he was having problems in the suburb of Great Baddow, which was usually 'quite a nice little area.'
As he seeks to wrestle back the Tories shrinking reputation as the party of law and order the Prime Minister (pictured on a walkabout in Chelmsford) vowed stronger powers for the police and punitive action against local hooligans.
Fly-tipping and grafittiing will be punishable with fines of up to £1,000 under plans Mr Sunak unveiled in Essex today
Mr Jones, whose former local pub has been turned into a large Airbnb rental, said: 'These places are let by the owners to groups of people with no control whatsoever.
'They can come in and they can use the facilities there – in this particular case they have 10-person hot tubs and karaoke rooms.
'Anti-social behaviour and especially noise nuisance can go on through the night and there is no restriction, and I think they really should be addressing the problem these are causing with maybe some regulations coming in.
Drugs: Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, will be banned because of reported links between the drug and nuisance or anti-social behaviour. Police will also be given new powers to drug test suspected criminals on arrest for substances including cannabis, speed and ketamine.
Flytipping: Fines for fly tipping, graffiti and littering will be increased up to £1,000, and council league tables will be published for fly tippers.
Begging: It will be made an offence for criminal gangs to organise begging networks for extra cash.
Reporting tool: A one-stop-shop for reporting anti-social behaviour will be developed, which will also provide updates on what action is being taken by local police and councils.
Community payback: Offenders will be made to wear high-vis vests or jumpsuits as they pick up litter, remove graffiti and wash police cars as punishment for their actions. Victims of anti-social behaviour will get a say in the punishment.
Unruly tenants: Landlords and housing associations will get more powers to evict unruly tenants who ruin neighbours' lives through disorderly behaviour.
Empty shops: Councils will be granted new powers to quickly take control and sell off empty shop buildings.
Youth services: Youngsters in areas with the highest rates of anti-social behaviour will get an extra one million hours of youth services to prevent offending.
Green spaces: Up to £5million will be spent making parks and green spaces safer, with CCTV, playground repairs and planting more trees and flowers.
'I'm not walking the alleyways and backstreets of Chelmsford looking at this, but it goes on.'
'Let me take that away. I've got a feeling we are looking at that, from memory,' the PM replied.
An Airbnb spokeswoman said: 'Parties are banned on Airbnb and our industry-leading prevention technology blocked more than 84,000 people in the UK from making certain unwanted bookings last year alone.
'Our 24/7 hotline for neighbours means anyone can contact us directly about a concern with a listing and we investigate and take action on reports received. We are committed to being good partners to local communities in the UK, and have long supported the introduction of a national short-term lets register to give authorities better visibility of activity in their area.'
As he seeks to wrestle back the Tories shrinking reputation as the party of law and order the Prime Minister vowed stronger powers for the police and punitive action against local hooligans.
Fly-tipping and graffitiing will be punishable with fines of up to £1,000 under plans Mr Sunak unveiled in Essex today.
He also vowed action against begging networks run by organised crime, while landlords will get extra help to evict nuisance tenants.
There will also be new rules widening the ability of police to routinely drug test suspects in custody to include domestic abusers and people accused of violence against women and girls among other offenders.