The Law

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is the law that guides agencies in what they can do about anti-social behaviour.

It made big changes to the way agencies deal with anti-social behaviour.

It made things simpler and faster.

Victims of anti-social behaviour can now demand a review of their situation where nothing seems to have been done. This is great news.  The law sets out the following six tools for agencies:

1. Injunction

This can be used to stop someone from doing the behaviour that is causing distress.   There are two tests: causing nuisance and annoyance in a residential setting; causing harassment, alarm or distress elsewhere.

2. Criminal Behaviour Order

This can be used when someone is convicted of a crime if the court thinks they will continue to cause anti-social behaviour, if not restricted by the order.

3. Dispersal Powers

This allows the police to send people causing anti-social behaviour away from a public place and remove items that they are using to cause the ASB.

4. Community Protection Notices and Orders

These are designed to stop ongoing environmental anti-social behaviour.  They can be used against individuals or organisations.

5. Public Spaces Protection Order

This order deals with a nuisance or problem in a public area. The order applies to everyone in that area, for example no dogs or no alcohol.

6. Closure of Premises

This is used to stop someone entering a building that has become the site of a lot of anti-social behaviour or may become one.  This could be a house, a pub, etc.

There is also a specific law for landlords – the Recovery of Possession of Dwelling Houses – which allows them to evict certain anti-social tenants.

For local involvement and accountability, the 2014 Act also includes the following two measures:

1. Community Remedy

This lets victims in some specific cases have a say in the punishment of the offender.

2. ASB Case Review (Community Trigger)

This lets victims activate a multi-agency review of their case.  It has the potential to be very useful and powerful to victims who are not getting anywhere with their local agencies.

The Police, Local Authority, or other relevant agencies will try and stop a problem quickly when they can.  They can use:

  • Verbal warnings
  • Written warnings
  • Mediation
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contracts

These are called early intervention techniques.  They can be very effective.  Acceptable Behaviour Contracts are agreements in writing between an offender who is under 18 years old and the local authority and police.  The young person agrees not to be involved with certain anti-social acts (this is also witnessed by their parents).

Usually agencies must try early intervention before they can take a case to court.  This is one of the reasons it can take so long to resolve problems involving anti-social behaviour.

Agencies need to follow procedures.  Be patient with this.  Persevere – results are achievable.  

How are you coping?