Greater Manchester’s Police and Crime Commissioner has been giving evidence before the influential parliamentary committee scrutinising the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
Included in the draft legislation is a move to allow the prosecution of irresponsible dog owners who can’t control their pets.
It follows the tragic death of Wigan teenager Jade Anderson, who was killed by an out-of-control dog when she was visiting its owner’s home.
Tony Lloyd, who met with Jade Anderson’s parents before giving his evidence, believes the measure is welcome, but added it needs to go further.
Tony said: “I welcome proposed measures to tackle dangerous dogs. Last night I met the Anderson family who sadly lost their daughter Jade in a tragic dog attack. This brought home to me the urgent need for the Government to bring forward this legislation to give the police and other authorities the powers they need to protect people from this growing problem.
“But I would urge them to go further and introduce Dog Control Orders similar to those brought in Scotland. These orders, which have been dubbed ‘Dog Asbos’, aim to identify out of control dogs at an early stage and force irresponsible owners to change their behaviour before they attack a member of the public.”
On the other measures outlined in the Bill, Tony gave a cautious welcome, but warned that the efforts for agencies to work together to effectively tackle anti-social behaviour could be threatened by the ongoing Government programme of cuts.
Tony added: “Police and Crime Commissioners want to see a common sense and practical approach to tackling anti-social behaviour with the police and other agencies given the right tools to protect vulnerable people.
“The Bill goes a large way to de-cluttering existing legislation, but tackling anti-social behaviour isn’t just about having the right laws, as going to the law should be the last resort. Equally important is the early intervention approach which can actually break the cycle of offending. This puts victims at the centre and is much more likely to have a long-term impact on offending behaviour. This is of course a real challenge because of the significant reduction in resources that police and other bodies face.
“The bill also means we will lose case law around the existing Asbo system which will require significant training and re-training, not just for the police but for all agencies involved in tackling anti-social behaviour, including the judiciary.”