Anti-social behaviour powers

The new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which came in to force in October 2014 has streamlined the powers available, which are explained below:

An injunction

Civil Injunctions are available through the county court for adults and youth courts for ten to 17 year olds. The main difference to the anti-social behaviour injunction is that it is available to a wider range of agencies including local councils, social landlords and the police. The aim is enable these agencies to deal quickly with anti-social individuals, nipping problems in the bud before it escalates. Breach of an injunction is not a criminal offence but it can result in an unlimited fine and up to two years in prison (if over 18); or a supervision order or a civil detention order of up to three months if aged between 14 and 17 years old.

Criminal Behaviour Orders

ASBO’s will be replaced by Criminal Behaviour Orders which will be issued through the courts to convicted offenders. Issued by a criminal court to a person convicted of an offence to tackle the most persistently anti-social behaviour individuals who are engaged in criminal activity. The anti-social behaviour does not need to be part of the criminal offence.

Community Protection Notices

The purpose of this is to stop a person aged 16 or over, business, or organisation committing anti-social behaviour which spoils the community’s quality of life, for example graffiti, noise nuisance or littering. The police, local councils and social landlords can issue a Criminal Protection Notice.

Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)

These are designed to stop individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour such as drinking alcohol and noise nuisance in a public place such as a park, alleyway or communal area. The local council can issue the PSPO which will put restrictions on the area where behaviour has, or is likely to have a detrimental effect on the local community.

Closure Notices and Closure Orders

The purpose of this is to enable the police or council to quickly close premises which are being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder. A Closure Notice is issued out of court and can close premises for up to 48 hours but cannot stop the owner or those that live there from accessing the premises. However a Closure Order can close premises for up to six months and restrict all access. A breach of either the Closure Order or Notice is a criminal offence. 

Dispersal powers

This power enables the police to require a person committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder to leave an area for up to 48 hours because their behaviour is contributing or likely to contribute to members of the public in the area being harassed, alarmed or distressed. Anyone who is, or appears to be over the age of ten can be given the direction to leave and a breach of the order is a criminal offence.

In addition the new Act also introduces two measures that enable the public to have a greater say in how anti-social behaviour is tackled:

Community Remedy

The Community Remedy gives victims a say in the out of court punishment of perpetrators for low level crime and anti-social behaviour. The Act places a duty on the Police and Crime Commissioner to consult with members of the public and community representatives on what punitive, reparative or rehabilitative actions they would consider to be in the Community Remedy document. The document will contain a list of actions which may be chosen by the victim for the perpetrator to undertake in consequence of their behaviour or offending.   

Community Trigger

The Community Trigger is to provide additional accountability. It gives victims and communities the right to request a review of a case and bring agencies together to take a joined up approach to finding a solution. However for a review to take place agencies (the police, Lichfield District Council, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Social Housing providers) must agree that the threshold has been met. 

Threshold:

Three separate reports of anti-social behaviour in a six month period with the last incident being within one month of the Community Trigger application.

For the purpose of the Community Trigger anti-social behaviour is defined as behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress to a member, or members, of the public.

It is important to note that the trigger is not activated where an applicant is unhappy with the action taken - that would be a matter for the internal complaints procedure of the organisation taking the complaint.

If a problem is ongoing but action is being taken again the trigger is not activated, the applicant would be referred back to the agency dealing with the investigation.

For the trigger to meet the definition that no action has been taken at least one of the following would need to apply:

  1. No acknowledgement of the reports has been given and/or

  2. Service delivery has not taken into account the vulnerability of the complainants and/or

  3. Service delivery has not been appropriate or effective due to a lack of information sharing between partners. 

If the threshold is met a case review will be undertaken by the partner agencies where information related to the case is shared, any action undertaken is reviewed and any future actions are agreed upon. The victim will be informed of the outcome of the review and where further actions are necessary an action plan will be discussed with the victim, including timescales.  

The Community Trigger encourages a problem solving approach and aims to deal with the most persistent, complex cases of anti-social behaviour. A victim of anti-social behaviour or another person acting on behalf of the victim such as a family member, carer, local councillor etc. can use the Community Trigger. The victim can be an individual, business or a community group.

Find out more information about the new legislation.


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