There have been signs recently that ministers are slipping back into the policy-by-headline mindset that defined the last Labour government. We're seeing the sorts of policies that lack evidence, are launched without any detail on timetables or implementation, and are usually geared around an initiative — if possible, a pilot or a local trial that is short-lived and guaranteed not to alter very much. Today the Home Office brought us a classic of the kind: the ‘community trigger’ to address anti-social behaviour.
The Home Secretary’s motivation is sincere, but the method — devised by her officials — is deeply flawed. With what detail we have, we know that it will be piloted in several forces this summer, and it places an obligation on the police and local councils to devise a plan to address a problem such as a noisy neighbour or repeat graffiti, within a fortnight, if a sufficient number of people complain.