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Guide to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 21 Jul 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Antisocial Behaviour Crime And Policing

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 aimed to provide additional powers to those provided by the AntiSocial Behaviour Act 2003. It consolidates provisions in a number of other Acts including the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the Police Act 1997, and The Terrorism Act 2000.

Injunctions

Under the 2003 Act Registered social landlords can apply for an injunction preventing certain persons from attending the landlord's property. The injunction will be given in respect of people who cause nuisance or annoyance to neighbours surrounding a particular property.

The 2014 Act widened the circumstances in which the Court could grant an injunction:

  • The Court can now grant an injunction against people as young as 10 years old if they a) engage or threaten to engage in anti-social behaviour, and b) it is just and convenient to grant in order to prevent anti-social behaviour
  • If the injunction is made against someone under the age of 18, it can only last up to 12 months
  • If the person is 18 years or older, the injunction can exclude them from their home if there is a risk of the use of violence (or threat of use), or a significant risk of harm to others
  • The injunction can be requested by a number of different parties including the Local Authority, Police (including British Transport Police), a social housing provider and The Environment Agency
  • A power of arrest can be attached by the court so that the person can be arrested for breach of the injunction

Parenting Orders and Criminal Behaviour Orders

The 2003 Act introduced Parenting Orders. Parenting Orders can be given to parents to identify steps that they must take to control their children. In particular, this controversially introduced "parenting contracts" which make parents responsible if their children truant.

"We live in a council estate & it clearly states NO BALL GAMES on a sign posted placed on the wall where everyone can see it! Yet time & time again these young boys continue to play all types of ball games! Especially during the summer, they play until 10 in the evening. Recently one of them kicked the ball so hard that it smashed one of the windows."

It may be worth contacting your local council about this one. Unless the "no ball games" rule is a local by-law the police will be unlikely to take action. However if the children are causing a nuisance to local residents (i.e. by breaking windows), the Council may consider asking their parents to control them. Has a window only been smashed once though? If so, the Council may argue that a one-off event doesn't constitute a "nuisance".

The 2014 act created Criminal Behaviour Orders, which switch the onus back to the offender themselves. These can be granted if two conditions are met:

  1. The person has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others, and
  2. The court considers that the order will help to prevent criminal behaviour

If the person is under 18 years, the order will last 1-3 years. If the person is 18 years or older, the order will last a minimum of 2 years, with no maximum limit.

It is a criminal offence to breach a Criminal Behaviour Order, which could result in up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine.

Dispersal

Under the 2003 Act, the police have the power to disperse groups of two or more people who have gathered in any public place, if their presence 'has resulted or is likely to result in any members of the public being intimidated, harassed, alarmed or distressed'. This does not however apply to authorised protests or pickets. The police may also accompany any child under the age of 16 years to their home between 9pm and 6am.

The 2003 Act also strengthened the powers of the police to move unauthorised travellers' sites. It gave the police powers to disperse a public assembly of just 2 or more people who were likely to 'cause serious public disorder, serious damage to property, or serious disruption' to the community.

The 2014 Act confirmed this power, and allows any police officer of the rank of inspector or above to authorise dispersal for up to 48 hours. It is an offence to not comply with police dispersal, which can result in up to 3 months imprisonment and/or a fine. However the dispersal can't prevent a person's access to their own home, work place, medical treatment, or education. (You may have to go a different and perhaps longer way round though.)

Public Spaces Protection Orders

In addition, the 2014 Act created Public Spaces Protection Orders. This allows police officers to prevent certain activities being carried out in a particular area, in order to prevent public nuisance. (For example no skateboarding on a particular public space.) The police can therefore disperse anyone failing to comply with that order. Public Space Protection Orders last for up to 3 years, but can be renewed.

Alcohol consumption

The 2014 Act allows police to prohibit alcohol consumption in public places. You may most commonly notice this in city centres, where bars will not allow you to take your drink outside when you leave.

There is a well documented link between alcohol consumption and the increase of antisocial behaviour and crime. The idea behind the prohibition is therefore to ensure closer monitoring of public drinking (bars should refuse to serve you alcohol if you are too intoxicated), and to try to curb antisocial behaviour and associated crime.

This supports the 2003 Act provisions which gave Accredited Community Support Officers and Rail Community Officers the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices in respect of a number of offences. These include the consumption of alcohol in a public area, or using insulting or abusive behaviour likely to cause 'harassment, alarm or distress'. The use of threatening or abusive words or behaviour is also an offence under the Public Order Act 1986 (section 5).

"Every other night there are annoying loud drunks who feel the need to have conversations at 3am in the morning around the back. There was a fight next door a couple of weeks ago and since then (tonight included) there are people that being aggressive and threatening to each other: screaming, swearing all sorts of vulgarities, threatening to stab, kill etc."

Try reporting this to your local police (the non-emergency number is 101) as they can take action using Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Note however that it will be a defence for your neighbours if they are inside and had no reason to believe that their behaviour would be heard outside their house. It may therefore be best to speak to your neighbours and explain that you can hear them shouting first.

Closure of Premises

Under the 2003 Act, the police can apply to a Magistrates Court to close residential premises either:
" Concerned in the use, production or supply of Class A drugs (usually cocaine) and which have been of serious nuisance or disorder to members of the public within the last 3 months, or
" Associated with significant and persistent disorder, or persistent serious nuisance to members of the public within the last 3 months

The 2014 Act widened this power, so police don't have to wait until nuisance has already occurred. The police can now close premises which have or are likely to result in nuisance to the public, or which have or are likely to be associated with disorder near the premises.The closure can last up to 72 hours (not including Christmas Day). However it can't prevent access to a person's home, or prevent the owner from entering their own premises.A copy of a closure notice must be fixed to the premises in a prominent place so it would be seen by anyone trying to enter. The police can also secure premises against entry, and are authorised to use reasonable force to carry out the closure if required.

It is an offence to breach a closure order, which can result in up to 51 weeks imprisonment, and/or a fine.

Recovery of residential premises

In good news for Landlords, the 2014 Act assists them in recovering residential property from misbehaving tenants. Under the 2014 Act, the residential premises can be recovered if:
  1. The dweller is convicted of a serious offence that was committed in or around the area of the property; or
  2. The dweller has breached a 2014 Act injunction in the locality of the premises; or
  3. The dweller has breached a Criminal Behaviour Order.

Control of dogs

The 2014 Act helped to provide some clarity on the test for animal destruction under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. It states that the court should consider the temperament of the dog, its past behaviour, whether its owner was a proper person to be in charge of it, and any other relevant circumstances.

This is potentially good news for animal lovers, as it reduces the likelihood of a dog been killed due to being unfortunate enough to have an improper owner.

The Act also increases the sentences for the owner of a "dangerous dog" in the hope that this will promote more responsible dog ownership:

  • If the attacked person dies - up to 14 years imprisonment
  • If the attacked person is injured (but doesn't die)- up to 5 years imprisonment
  • If an assistance dog is injured - up to 3 years

Possession of firearms

The 2003 Act made it illegal to be in the possession of an airgun or imitation firearm in a public place. It is also illegal to sell a realistic imitation firearm unless the buyer legitimately needs it.

The 2014 Act makes it illegal to manufacture, sell, transfer or possess any prohibited weapon or ammunition. Further, the 2014 Act confirms that it is illegal to possess a firearm for any reason within 5 years of a person being imprisoned for a period of 3 months or more. The penalty for improper importation of firearms also dramatically increased from a maximum of 7 years to potential life imprisonment; a real sign of the government's crackdown on the "underground" firearm industry.

Graffiti

Under the 2003 Act, Councils can serve a graffiti removal notice on the owner of any street furniture (e.g. a bus stop or telephone box). There is however a defence to a graffiti removal notice - 'the defacement is neither detrimental to the amenity of the area nor offensive'.

"My next door neighbour has made huge bizarre chalk drawings on the side of his house. It's the first thing we see when we look out of our door or window. He does them on his driveway too but the rain washes them off. However, it doesn't wash the chalk drawings from the walls. It's bizarre and unsightly and is blighting the street and is making us depressed."

If the drawings are making you depressed, try speaking to your neighbour. Can he draw them on a side of his house that does not face yours? You could speak to your local council and ask them to use their powers under Section 6. However if the nature of the drawing is not offensive (i.e. not a swear word) then the council may be unable to make your neighbour remove it.

High Hedges

Town planning legislation controls the height of fences, (these cannot usually be over 2 metres high,) but hedges are not controlled by that piece of legislation. The 2003 Act attempted to deal with this issue by giving local authorities the power to investigate complaints about the height of hedges and if necessary order that their height is reduced. However Councils can charge a fee for dealing with these complaints. The fee varies from area to area and can be from a few pounds, to a few hundred pounds. Check with your local council for the cost of an application. Note that if you "dock" your neighbour's hedge without their permission, this could constitute criminal damage.

Other questions

"We have moved house to a generally peaceful and respected area but as we have two young kids we have been targeted by so called friends of the same age, constantly calling at our house to PLAY.. but as our child does not want to associate with these certain kids they persist to ride their scooters in front of our window (which is through the gate and down the drive!) and when they are asked to leave the property we get stones and anything else they have , thrown at us and our property... How are we supposed to deal with this as they are only kids?"

If these children are acting in an aggressive way (i.e. throwing stones at you), report this is your local police. The age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 years old. They can therefore be held responsible for their actions. Note that if the stones hit you, or damage your property, this is a criminal offence (assault or criminal damage).

"My next door neighbour's ... garden is a 'mish-mash' of strange dead wood and log 'features' that he seems to think are attractive..."

Unfortunately we all have different tastes, and as long as the "features" are not considered offensive (for example a large swastika), then your neighbour is entitled to have whatever "features" he wishes in his garden. If they upset you, can you take action to prevent you from seeing these, for example planting a small hedge at your property boundary?

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My neighbours throwing rubbish inside building and outside even they are through baby nappy every where rubbish:( how we can sorted this out
BAHAR - 21-Jul-18 @ 11:07 AM
My neighbour is insistent that I have caused a rat problem by feeding the birds. I have never seen more that one rat occasionally, we live by the water, but in the interest of compromise I have moved to a bird feeder that leaves no mess. Since then, my neighbour has put 6 inch nails on the adjoining garden fence. He has erected 6 ft fencing at the front of his property, which is not in keeping with the area. Today, he has rerouted the drain ppipeacross the length of the 6ft fence to drain onto a public path. I have tried to gain the support of the council, but they never respond to my emails and I get automated advise,which does not relate to this when I ring.I am now left with a 6ft fence with piping across it at t he front of my property. Any advice?
Desperate - 4-Jul-18 @ 7:35 PM
Lenny - Your Question:
Had so much trouble in the last 4 years with neighbours. Constantly suffering verbal abuse. Smashed windows but could not be proven that neighbours responsible. Always being called a grass or informant. Council don’t seem to be interested and always want to make out that I must have done something to have created the problem in first place to cause the reaction I’ve received. Police hands are tied really as a lot of what happens is a council matter and not police matter. Neighbours have been issued with 2 public order fixed penalties. An order to prevent their dog returning until they have erected a fence too. Noise monitors have been installed several times but council send warning letters to neighbours stating monitors will be used over the next 3 months. Neighbours just be fairly quiet for that period of time. Met with local councillor but didn’t help too much but was sympathetic to our plight. I feel council failed on so many levels but who do I take this complaint to? Already wrote email to council head who put me in touch with another housing officer but as I’ve said Im made to feel like it’s me that’s the problem

Our Response:
It sounds as though the council and the police have performed their duty so it may be difficult to claimed they have failed you. Two fixed penalty orders plus an order to get their fence secured, together with noise monitors being placed in your home several times etc. If still feel you want to complain you could try the Local Government Ombudsman
ProblemNeighbours - 2-Jul-18 @ 12:07 PM
Had so much trouble in the last 4 years with neighbours. Constantly suffering verbal abuse. Smashed windows but could not be proven that neighbours responsible. Always being called a grass or informant. Council don’t seem to be interested and always want to make out that I must have done something to have created the problem in first place to cause the reaction I’ve received. Police hands are tied really as a lot of what happens is a council matter and not police matter. Neighbours have been issued with 2 public order fixed penalties. An order to prevent their dog returning until they have erected a fence too. Noise monitors have been installed several times but council send warning letters to neighbours stating monitors will be used over the next 3 months. Neighbours just be fairly quiet for that period of time. Met with local councillor but didn’t help too much but was sympathetic to our plight. I feel council failed on so many levels but who do I take this complaint to? Already wrote email to council head who put me in touch with another housing officer but as I’ve said Im made to feel like it’s me that’s the problem
Lenny - 28-Jun-18 @ 10:08 PM
How do i get moved from an ongoing violent abusive next door neighbour .i am suffering here as so is my vulnerabld son who is in special needs .the neighbour got a hammer threateining my son got it videod...he got arrested ...he shouts abuse over the fence at all of us an any friends or family .he sprays my windows constantly .he waved a garden knife at my son with swearing at him .i have emailed council of all events sent videos an pictures also emailed my mp an spoke to police.hes a drunk sometimes my dogs very nervous now i cant even use my back garden as he dmshouts things an watches oit of the top window .being a anxirety sufferer imvery stressed an so is my son .i want to be rehoused we cannot live like this ....we need help urgently .????
Debs - 22-May-18 @ 12:29 PM
LisaM - Your Question:
How do you deal with a neighbour who either had mental health or drug issues He will smash stuff up in his garden day and night not such a big deal but often he will scream at the top of his lungs swearing and sexual stuff all hours of the night out the back down the road and out the front. scares the kids and is a bloody nuisance waking us all the time

Our Response:
Have you tried contacting the police when this happens? Your local community policing team should be able to look into this for you.
ProblemNeighbours - 22-May-18 @ 11:20 AM
How do you deal with a neighbour who either had mental health or drug issues He will smash stuff up in his garden day and night not such a big deal but often he will scream at the top of his lungs swearing and sexual stuff all hours of the night out the back down the road and out the front.... scares the kids and is a bloody nuisance waking us all the time
LisaM - 15-May-18 @ 7:44 PM
Teenage neighbour keeps smoking cannabis. He is about 16 or 17. I have asked him to stop on several occasions over the past 3 years. Whenever he smokes it, if my windows are open, my house stinks of cannabis for ages. Also, in the summer I have been forced to go inside because of the smell. Over the last couple of years, I have often closed my windows or gone inside to get away from the smell of cannabis. When I have asked him to stop, he has argued that he can do what he wants in his own garden. His dad has also told my partner that he is happy for him to smoke it at home, as it is safer for him. His dad would smoke it with him. His dad no longer lives next door, but from what I'm told, his mum is happy for him to smoke it too. Up until now, I have just put up with it, but I now have a baby. I am not willing to put baby at risk. I should not have to keep all my windows shut, and avoid using my garden forever. I have reported to police, but understand that they have much more important things to do with their time. Is there any other action I can take?? It is a leasehold property, could they be in breach of their lease? Can I take civil action against them?
PND - 22-Apr-18 @ 7:44 PM
Maz - Your Question:
Hello I moved into a 2bed flat above it is only 2 flat high with my now 16 old daughter 4 yes ago I am 55yrs old never been in trouble in my life never had a bad tenancy against myself Indo suffer with mental illness is PTSD bioplar panic attacks social phobia etc and it's got worst since moving here. The minute I moved in ive had nothing but complaints from the flat below me I've had warning letters from housing management and from environment health being treated with noise abatement orders now again the complaints being using a washer late at night after 10 at night also hoovering now apparartly scrapping walls late on a night since moving in ive only decorated my daughter room there is no wallpaper on the walls in the flat but they do need about of work on them I am to scared to decorate because of all complaints I have not even unpacked my clothes and other items I sleep on the sofa to. I don't use my washer after 10.00pm since moving in and itnwould be like committing suicide plus I brought a new washer which has a silent button on it I can't hear it when in my living room the latest I have hoovered is not often but before 8 - 9 pm at the latest like I say this is not often. Now I'm decorating scrapping late at night this is not true. I don't which to turn to for help on my behalf then neighbors below want the council to sound proof there flat as they told my son this I was also informed this by a council management officer 4 yrs ago when the 1st complaints started she left awhile ago I've even committed suicide and ended up in intensive care for a while this is making me feel like this again my daughter has had enough also I take it out on her and she is a good polite girl I no longer let visitors come and live like a hermit please can you advise me with some help I have now brought sound monitor to start using as I no I am not doing these reported items I also believe because of my mental health the council don't believe me

Our Response:
Has your landlord (the council?) interviewed you for your side of the story? If the previous tenant was also complained about it suggests the neighbour below is the issue. It is a common problem with flats and not everyone has the same tolerance levels. It's really sad that you and your daughter are having to live your lives like this. Do you have support organisation in your area which offeres support with your mental illness? They might be able to talk to the council on your behalf and explain that you cannot be quieter even if you try and that the problem has a lot to do with your neighbour's lack of tolerance.Please don't try and cope with this yourself, seek help from other organisations (Citizens' Advice is good place to start) or your local councillor.
ProblemNeighbours - 20-Apr-18 @ 9:56 AM
Woody - Your Question:
New neighbours have moved into house just across road from us and have a golden retriever dog. They are allowing dog to urinate on grass verge outside our house - the grass has now burnt and there about 20 patches - it’s a mess. All the other neighbours and ourselves take great pride in the street, cutting verges and generally maintaining. I have asked nicely to be met with a shrug of the shoulder and to be told I can’t stop my dog going to the toilet. Since then they are deliberately letting the dog use the verge which is directly outside the kitchen window. Today I asked if we had done anything wrong to be met with a threatening and aggressive response and to be told I was mad. We have lived in our house for 20 years and have never had any issues with any of the neighbours previously. I am a bit shocked and very upset. Is there anything I can do.

Our Response:
Unfortunately, it's difficult to do anything about this if the grass verge is part of the public highway. It might be worth looking into some kind of deterrent that might persuade the dog to urinate elsewhere?
ProblemNeighbours - 18-Apr-18 @ 10:25 AM
Hello I moved into a 2bed flat above it is only 2 flat high with my now 16 old daughter 4 yes ago I am 55yrs old never been in trouble in my life never had a bad tenancy against myself Indo suffer with mental illness is PTSD bioplar panic attacks social phobia etc and it's got worst since moving here. The minute I moved in ive had nothing but complaints from the flat below me I've had warning letters from housing management and from environment health being treated with noise abatement orders now again the complaints being using a washer late at night after 10 at night also hooveringnow apparartly scrapping walls late on a night since moving in ive only decorated my daughter room there is no wallpaper on the walls in the flat but they do need about of work on them I am to scared to decorate because of all complaints I have not even unpacked my clothes and other items I sleep on the sofa to. I don't use my washer after 10.00pm since moving in and itnwould be like committing suicide plus I brought a new washer which has a silent button on it I can't hear it when in my living room the latest I have hoovered is not often but before 8 - 9 pm at the latest like I say this is not often. Now I'm decorating scrapping late at night this is not true. I don't which to turn to for help on my behalf then neighbors below want the council to sound proof there flat as they told my son this I was also informed this by a council management officer 4 yrs ago when the 1st complaints started she left awhile ago I've even committed suicide and ended up in intensive care for a while this is making me feel like this again my daughter has had enough also I take it out on her and she is a good polite girl I no longer let visitors come and live like a hermit please can you advise me with some help I have now brought sound monitor to start using as I no I am not doing these reported items I also believe because of my mental health the council don't believe me
Maz - 17-Apr-18 @ 7:57 PM
New neighbours have moved into house just across road from us and have a golden retriever dog. They areallowing dog to urinate on grass verge outside our house - the grass has now burnt and there about 20 patches - it’s a mess.All the other neighbours and ourselves take great pride in the street, cutting verges and generally maintaining. I have asked nicely to be met with a shrug of the shoulder and to be told I can’t stop my dog going to the toilet.Since then they are deliberately letting the dog use the verge which is directly outside the kitchen window.Today I asked if we had done anything wrong to be met with a threatening and aggressive response and to be told I was mad. We have lived in our house for 20 years and have never had any issues with any of the neighbours previously. I am a bit shocked and very upset.Is there anything I can do..
Woody - 15-Apr-18 @ 4:17 PM
Flossy - Your Question:
My neighbour has built a fence out the front of the property. He has built this over 3 drains one of which is his downpipe. This is blocked and coming over into my property and going down the side of my house. I have asked my neighbour to unblock it and they have refused. I feel really intimidated by my neighbour and don’t know what I can do as the council have gave planning permission for the fence to stay

Our Response:
Sorry it's not clear what's happened.The was has been built over 3 drains one of which is his downpipe? Did he cut the downpipe to build the wall? Is the blockage in the drain or in the downpipe? How is the water going down your house wall? Is it from the gutter? Where is your own downpipe?
ProblemNeighbours - 28-Feb-18 @ 3:29 PM
My neighbour has built a fence out the front of the property. He has built this over 3 drains one of which is his downpipe. This is blocked and coming over into my property and going down the side of my house. I have asked my neighbour to unblock it and they have refused. I feel really intimidated by my neighbour and don’t know what I can do as the council have gave planning permission for the fence to stay
Flossy - 27-Feb-18 @ 7:13 PM
My mothers neighbours who are Iranian play loud music at all stupid hours, and because off the language barrier it is difficult to even talk to them about any issues, and now because off this disbute the neighbour has smashed our window but the police can't do anything, there ignorant dogdy and disrespectful
CourtneyJade - 22-Dec-17 @ 6:16 PM
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