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Guidance on Drinking Banning Orders on application

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This guidance provides a single point of reference on Drinking Banning Orders (DBOs) for the police and local authorities, magistrates and approved course providers. It provides comprehensive information regarding the seeking, making and enforcement of a DBO, as well as covering matters relating to the recipient’s attendance of an approved course. 

Title: Guidance on Drinking Banning Orders on application
Author: Home Office
Number of pages: 45
Date published: August 2009
Availability: Download full guidance document PDF file PDF 1.4Mb

DBOs are to be used to address an individual's alcohol misuse behaviour and protect others and their property from such behaviour. Alcohol misuse, and particularly that associated with anti-social and disorderly behaviour, is a significant concern for many people in our communities. Such alcohol misuse behaviour is a strong contributory factor associated with a wide range of crimes or disorderly behaviour that can include:

  • public order offences (often anti-social by nature, these offences can involve rowdy, threatening and abusive behaviour, disorderly groups of people, and urinating in public)
  • criminal damage
  • minor and serious assaults
  • violent offences
  • traffic offences.

DBOs are a new civil order that come into force on 31 August 2009 and are similar in their working to Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs). These orders can be given for a duration of between two months and two years. They are available through the provisions of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 (VCR Act 2006) that received Royal Assent on 8 November 2006. DBOs are intended to tackle alcohol-related criminal or disorderly behaviour. Individuals engaging in criminal or disorderly behaviour which is not alcohol-related are not suitable for a DBO, and other sanctions such as ASBOs may be more appropriate.

DBOs can be applied for by either the police (including British Transport Police) or local authorities in England and Wales (referred to collectively in this guidance as ‘relevant authorities’) against individuals aged 16 and over who are responsible for alcohol-related crime or disorder.

Relevant authorities can make an application to the courts for a DBO. The DBO is intended to deal with individuals who are involved in criminal and disorderly behaviour that is alcohol-related, including alcohol-related anti-social behaviour and nuisance. In particular, they are intended for use in cases where other early intervention approaches have not worked. DBOs could also be relevant in cases of criminal damage to property, committed while under the influence of alcohol.

DBOs must include any prohibitions on entering licensed premises as are necessary for the purpose of protecting other persons from criminal or disorderly conduct that the individual may commit under the influence of alcohol. They may also include any other prohibitions that are necessary for that purpose.

Ultimately, DBOs are designed to protect the community from a specific range of behaviour that is associated with an individual’s alcohol misuse.

The following courts can make a DBO:

  • magistrates’ courts (acting in their civil capacity)
  • county courts (where the principal proceedings involve alcohol misuse crime or disorderly behaviour by those who are party to the proceedings or could be made a party).

The power to make DBOs on application is available from 31 August 2009.

The VCR Act 2006 also has provision for the making of DBOs on conviction, where the courts can consider whether to make a DBO when a person is convicted of an offence that is committed while under the influence of alcohol. We are intially only commencing DBOs on application. This will enable the effectiveness of DBOs in tackling the problems of alcohol misuse behaviour to be proved before a wider roll-out for criminal cases on conviction. It will give the courts time to become more familiar with the legislation before DBOs are introduced on conviction. We will monitor the effects of DBOs on application closely before a decision is made on the commencement of DBOs on conviction.

A separate application to the courts for a DBO will need to be made in all cases where a DBO is sought, even in cases where the individual has been convicted by the court of an offence that is alcohol-related.

Approved courses

The VCR Act 2006 and the VCR Act 2006 (Drinking Banning Orders) (Approved Courses) Regulations 2009 also make provision for the duration of a DBO to be reduced if an individual satisfactorily completes an approved course to address their alcohol misuse behaviour. This means that a court can propose to an individual that they attend a specified approved course to address their alcohol misuse. The court has to be satisfied that a place is available for the individual on a course and the subject has voluntarily agreed to attend the course and have it included in the DBO.

The Home Secretary has approved a number of course providers throughout England and Wales to follow a national model in provision of approved courses. Details of the providers including the areas that they cover are available on the crime reduction website at

Other tools for tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder

There is now a wide range of tools and tactics that can be used to tackle the problems of alcohol-related crime and disorder, which enables authorities and courts to take action that targets the particular problem in question. Details of these tools and powers can be found in The practical guide for preventing and dealing with alcohol related problems. It is important that where it is appropriate to do so these tools are used energetically and constructively to tackle those in our communities who are responsible for alcohol-related crime or disorder. Updates to this guidance will be available from the crime reduction website as above.

Getting a copy

Download Guidance on Drinking Banning Orders on application PDF file PDF 1.4Mb

Last update: Friday, August 28, 2009