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Anti-social behaviour

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) includes a range of problems: noisy neighbours, abandoned cars, vandalism, graffiti, litter and intimidating groups. It creates an environment where crime can take hold and affect people's everyday lives. But there are ways to tackle the problem.

What you can do

If anti-social behaviour is a problem in your area, you can:

  • talk to your local anti-social behaviour co-ordinator, who can help you tackle the problem
  • get involved to help prevent and tackle ASB when it does occur
  • report ASB incidents
  • be a witness to support legal action and stop ASB by getting court orders

In some cases witnesses' identities can be kept anonymous.

Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABCs)

An ABC is a written agreement made between a person causing anti-social behaviour and their local authority, Youth Inclusion Support Panel, landlord or the police. ABCs are designed to get individuals to acknowledge their anti-social behaviour and the effect it has on others with the aim of stopping that behaviour at an early stage. An ABC sets out the types of anti-social acts the person agrees not to continue and outlines the consequences if the contract is breached.

ABCs, although designed for young people, can be used for offenders of any age. ABCs are informal and flexible so can be used for various types of anti-social behaviour.

ABCs arent legally binding, but can be referred to in court as evidence in ASBO applications or in eviction or possession proceedings.

Penalty notices

A Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) are one-off penalties issued to people who commit anti-social behaviour.

Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) generally deal with environmental offences like dropping litter, minor graffiti offences, not cleaning up dog fouling or noise nuisance from a private residence during the night. They can be issued by local council officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and certain other accredited people. They can be issued to anyone over ten years old. Set penalties apply these are higher for noise-related offences.

Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) are issued for more serious offences, like throwing fireworks or being drunk and disorderly.  PNDs can be issued by the police, community support officers and certain other accredited people.

PNDs can be issued to anyone over 16 years old the amount of the fine depends on how bad the behaviour is.  Examples where a PND may be issued include, behaving in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to others, being drunk and disorderly public, selling alcohol to an under 18 year old or breaching a fireworks curfew. 

To find out more about Penalty Notices follow the link below.

Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)

An ASBO is a court order applied for by local authorities, police forces (including the British Transport Police) and by registered social landlords (these are landlords providing social housing). They cannot be applied for by members of the public, but people do get involved by collecting evidence and helping to monitor breaches.

ASBOs aim to protect the public from further anti-social behaviour from an individual rather than punish the person. They ban the individual from repeating the offending behaviour, or entering a set area and last for a minimum of two years.

ASBOs are designed with communities in mind to encourage people to get involved in reporting local crime and anti-social behaviour. Theyre not criminal penalties so they won't appear on a police record. However, breaching an ASBO is a criminal offence and the punishment for this may be a fine or even imprisonment.

CCTV and anti-social behaviour

CCTV has proved to be a highly effective tool in discouraging anti-social behaviour and providing evidence of crimes.

Powers of dispersal

Groups can be dispersed if they are behaving anti-socially in specific locations. A designated area for dispersal can range in size from a cash point to a whole local authority area, as long as there is evidence of anti-social behaviour.

The local authority must agree and the decision must be published in a local newspaper or by notices in the local area.

Encouraging respect in communities

'Respect' is a campaign to encourage respect in communities, including stamping out anti-social behaviour, by:

  • supporting or challenging anti-social households
  • tackling truancy and anti-social behaviour in schools
  • providing activities for younger people
  • strengthening local communities
  • stronger measures to tackle anti-social behaviour

Visit the 'Respect' website to read the 'Respect Action plan' and more on the campaign.

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