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

By: Abigail Taylor - Updated: 15 Oct 2023 | 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.


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.


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.


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 next door neighbor's are trying there adult daughter like crap when she is the carer can I get an asbo out on the parents and not there daughter?
Pinky - 15-Oct-23 @ 6:50 PM
Out next door Afghani Neibhour calling us mentally unsound and mad and swearing.Harassing ,bullying , intimidating ,with physical violence , banging on the our Front doorcontinuously and non stop ringing door bell,. Throwing cat poopin our property everyday despite being politelyaskednot too many time . Now I am threatened with physical violence and trying to punch me in the face .. Seek immediate help as we are sick and frail and causingus distress and anxiety . What shall I do .? Can I call the police and complain about this incident today
Rolfe - 12-Aug-23 @ 1:03 PM
My neighbor was recording or taking pictures of my girlfriend and I fighting so I confronted her and her ????????????????????came out of nowhere and hit me in the head with a bat I’m the police came they walked right past me adds I was saying I’m the one who got hit helllooo?? They didn’t ever call an ambulance
Sneg - 19-Feb-23 @ 9:12 AM
What can be done about my Nextdoor neighbours son ? He smokes weed & it comes into my house. I’ve contacted the council but nothing has been done yet. The smell is awful. We are both council tenants. Why should I have to put up with it ?
Dawn - 5-Oct-22 @ 2:07 PM
How do I stop the council from using next-door as temporary accommodation. It's rented from a private landlord. I have lived here for 20 years with my daughter and had no trouble. I am now 65 have various health problems,which are made so much worse by these tenants we live in semi-detached houses but to be honest the walls are so thin it's worse than a flathe people they are putting in are loud rude obnoxious and noisy. This is causing me so much stress. I want to live a longer life not have it cut short by stress. No one can do anything about help please I can't take much more.
Zazaalice - 17-Aug-22 @ 4:53 PM
Having problems with as many as 10/15 children throwing stones at windows door and at car as been going on for about 1year now , weaved phone the police got crime numbers tried to talk to perents and got no were it's cos our grandson how lives with us he's austic / ADHD/ and just does not understand why kids try and pick on him and won't leaf us all a lone.
Andy - 27-Apr-22 @ 10:25 PM
I have neighbours from he'll they have constantly caused problems for me and my elderly mother of 89 we are both disabled It started with very loud music Then was constant jumping up and down to such extent the lights were shuddering This all happened even while my sister who was dying of cancer was here When we went down to care for her they took over our part of garden . It then moved to trying to block me parking even though I have badge It has now escalated to spreading malicious lies to other neighbours to stop them talking to us and unbelievable some believe....the only thing we have done is try to fight for our bit of garden
Boo - 31-Mar-22 @ 1:59 PM
Plz contakt with me +44 7858 414838
Robert - 25-Mar-22 @ 9:39 AM
On Saturday early evening I invited a neighbour In to my flat and she, had already been drinking but seemed fine so I let her in for a bit as the drinks get flowing she was getting aggrevated about my daughters boyfriend cos he's older and didn'tike it so she kicked off with everyone so I told her to leave but wouldn't so I got my boyfriend to help me we had a bit of a push and shove we got her out eventually then next morning she came back kicking off saying you and your daughter are dead when you come out of your flat, she's got a few bruises and a scratch which I didn't do I was protecting my home and family did I do right and can I get In trouble with housing for protecting myself and flat? Worried about getting kicked out of my flat?
Bear - 25-Aug-21 @ 7:40 PM
my name donna nesbitt 108FLATNINE ACRE COURTM5 3HT 07771153274I AM BEING MENTAL HARASSMEN BY MY NEIGHOUR LIVE HOUES BOTTOM 7nine acrn drive ctv and 49talyorson street ctv husband wife bully me on 10floor flat harassmen me all time in my flat mental harassmen me talk allthe time said get out my flat to ctv
donna - 29-Jul-21 @ 2:15 PM
Hi have a neighbours dog going over to my side on purpose to indimidate my dogs very aggressiveand trying to fight with my dogs on purposewhen it comes to my fence it’s dangerously out of control very stressfuland no peace
Roz - 29-Jul-21 @ 11:39 AM
Hi I just would love some advice here I have a neighbour and friend she is mentally Ill and have a serious drug problem. She fights constantly with her partner and calls the police constantly on him. The trouble is they are false allegations of abuse she has called the police making false claims about domestic violence when their isnt. She will go on drug and drink binges for days on end I have spoke to her about concerns I have. She will ring the police up and ask the police if they can drop her off at so so place and use the police as a taxi. She will shout scream yell in our neighbourhood throughout all day and night walking up neighbours set dogs of barking and wake children up in the residential area. It's been going on for months now. I'm at my wits end with it. She has admitted to me and another neighbour that she makes false and nuisance phone calls to the police and emergency services. The police now have her on record. I'm sick of seeing the police outside front of my house and I'm sick of them knocking on my door and neighbours door. It's now the 7th time they came in recent months. I've tried to have words with my neighbour but she doesn't listen and will do what she wants. She doesnt listen to any one. Its bothering me as I suffer from anxiety myself and its affecting my health and well being. Moving isnt the option I been where I am for over 10 years my neighbour only been where they are for several months only. She got a habbit of banging on neighbours doors all hours day and night uninvited comes around at really late in evening or early hours of the morning. I dont know what else to do where to go who to report to. It's now getting more then a nuisance its anti social behaviour now. I'm in my mid 40s she is 35 and got severe mental health issues. She has done this before in another town with other people and many others do know what she is like. She got herself and partner evicted before from in another town because of her anti social behaviour she to were she lived before did the exact the same thing calling the police banging on neighbours doors and making false domestic violence claims. Its history repeating all over again.
Lin - 12-May-21 @ 4:33 AM
If your neighbour uses barbecue for hours go to a park, take your son. It is more fun too
Jo - 3-Apr-21 @ 8:04 AM
M: Why doesnt your son go to the park to play. Sometimes it is the other way round, only kids can use gardens. It usedn't to be like this. it used to be that men left home and kids too, women took care of the garden, rested in the garden. Home used to belong to women.
Jo - 3-Apr-21 @ 8:02 AM
We had a neighbour downstairs from us who since moved in complained about almost everything not believing word we say etc. He works nights mon-fri and we pretty quiet most of the time and in best most nights watching iPads by 10pm.I got a message from him couple weeks ago complain that he could hear me close my front door (am side entrance and he a front entrance) at 2 o’clock today my partner was playing music and neighbour came to door it was not heard right away and time it was heard no one was there he looked outside and opened window to as seen him walking down our path of everything was ok he started shouting and balling accusing. Us of gas lighting him and then threatened to punch my partner face.He kept asking what the problem was and he would not state. Tonight he then called my mobile at 8 o’clock to ask if I knew if he was Round and I said yes and he then turned round and said I know exactly what it was about (in threatening manner) and I was again gas lifting him what do I do in this circumstance
Mazzy - 3-Mar-21 @ 8:54 PM
I moved to a block of flats 4 in the block about 1 year ago.At first everything was quiet.Then my upstairs neighbour,s partner moved out about 4 months ago. Since then he's been having constant parties playing loud music till the early hours of the morning. I spoke to him about this and all I got was verbal abuse and threats. 2 weeks later he tried to kick my front door in all because I phoned the police about his parties and loud music. Police charged him. He went quiet for a couple of weeks but recently it's been getting worse. I contacted environmental health and they said that they would write to him and warn him about his anti social behaviour but seems to make no difference as earlier tonight he banged on my front shouting and swearing and threatened me.Contacted the police. Hope this doesn't make things worse.I'm on my own and I'm living in fear. Terrified that he might be able to get inside my flat
Amber - 30-Jan-21 @ 7:33 PM
I have a man who lives close by to me and he follows me through the forest to kill the foxs i feed with his dogs, how do i get him out of this area please, he has done this for the past 4 years and will not stop.
Loz - 12-Jan-21 @ 3:29 AM
What does it mean when someone asks if a particular area is suitable for families. Does it mean that they are asking if there is enough noise for them to fit in? A constant racket/ a circus, Ball games, power tools, kids screaming, yelling, shouting, mopeds, dozens of dogs barking, a lot of all terrain vehicles... Are they asking if there is enough noise so they would t disturb any peace if they moved. Or do they mean that they only want to live where affluent families live and shy away from the poor, the ill, or addictions other than money or noise making.
Cathy - 6-Jan-21 @ 5:49 PM
I have 3 problem neighbours in a block of flats it only goes up too 12 top,middle and below me constantly banging dropping heavy objects.I live alone,I have had a aneurysm and I have enlarged heart. As I am texting the cupboard slamming quite often the doors banging bang bang I'm sick off all this every day I go out early when I come back same thing bang bang The letters didn't work if you knock their door they don't answer
Gee - 20-Dec-20 @ 4:42 PM
I have 3 problem neighbours in a block of flats it only goes up too 12 top,middle and below me constantly banging dropping heavy objects.I live alone,I have had a aneurysm and I have enlarged heart. As I am texting the cupboard slamming quite often the doors banging bang bang I'm sick off all this every day I go out early when I come back same thing bang bang
Gee - 20-Dec-20 @ 4:26 PM
@PND - 22-Apr-18 @ 7:44 PM There most certainly is action to be taken. These people are obviously harming your health and that of your baby whilst blatantly flouting the laws of this great nation ! Cannabis is well known to cause schizoprenia and kleptomania and is the gateway drug to Heroin ! So, to best protect your family from this psychotic,theiving, anarchist junkie, I would suggest reversing your vehicle as close to their front door as possible, attach a pipe long enough to reach their letterbox, run the engine....... After a sensible amount of time, don your gas mask, load the bodies into the back of handily placed vehicle and drive them round to mine.... I happen to be re-doing the patio this week. All the best x
Freddy West - 22-Nov-20 @ 11:17 PM
I can understand where he is coming from when he said his neighbour knows what their doing its the same for me, they could rectify the problem but they dont and it can affect your mental health, i hope things get better for you star
Star - 24-Oct-20 @ 1:04 PM
My neighbour has a cat they dont have it in their house at all. They have a shed and open the door in the morning thete is dishes of food and wster there, the problem is i cant leave my backdoor open ad it trys to come in. It goes round the side of my house and digs up my borders knocks over my plants and my trelis trys to get in my livingroom window have had it in my house more than once its a constant battle.
Star - 24-Oct-20 @ 12:47 PM
My neighbor burning wood in barbecue plate, in the garden close to my fence, my son can’t play to the garden specially in his trampoline, he doing any day of a week weather is nice, I did complain to council, they checked the photo and they said smoke it’s acceptable still, but he doing 5 hours and we can’t open the door or seat in the garden, and conversation didn’t work, they said it’s their garden they like to do whatever they likes. We can’t use our garden, my kid completely getting sick and cough and he doesn’t go to the garden. No any rules for bonfire, but it’s very effective and harmful. What I should to do?
M - 19-Oct-20 @ 11:09 PM
It’s happening to me now and has moved out of the building the stalker that is he works for a handy man bussness an use to do maitanance on the building . But on many occasions I’ve court him out breaking thing on per purpusand And he’s stollen a lot of thing like private and personal thing let just say everything I owned was broken stolen or swoped for something of less a value this guy just won’t leave me family along and he’s doing the same thing to my family .and onand he steal our mail our keys bank detailseven got the same van as me and even swoped the tyre he would sit in the garage and just listen to my family so he new what was going on who had to do what and what time where his garage was below our unit and his place was above our unitwe were like sausage in the bum.and then to be continue I got heep Moore to tell
Kev - 14-Oct-20 @ 8:13 AM
My neighbours have erected a panelled fence on thier land, the other side of the boundary line. This has now left a tree which was on thier land, on my side of this new fence. The branches of the tree are now growing into my Laurel hedge. If I remove the branches it will leave an unsightly half a tree. Unfortunately we have not got on since they moved in a year ago. What can I do?
Sailor - 20-Sep-20 @ 7:13 AM
My neighbours have erected a panelled fence on thier land, the other side of the boundary line. This has now left a tree which was on thier land, on my side of this new fence. The branches of the tree are now growing into my Laurel hedge. If I remove the branches it will leave an unsightly half a tree. Unfortunately we have not got on since they moved in a year ago.
Sailor - 20-Sep-20 @ 7:10 AM
I am have eggs thrown at my door by some kids that are hang around and they keep knock my door and then running of . I have phoned the council about this and also the police. And the police told me to get a door bell camera which I now they will keep pressing it every 5 mins . I really do now what to do any more as have eggs thrown every day
Mm - 25-Aug-20 @ 3:42 PM
The neighbours kids (under 10), came to my house and started making accusations that i stollen all the stuff of their nana's (apparently, she lived/died 4 years ago, in the house that i rent now (for the last 2 years). Didn't take "no" for an answer, they tried to knick some hanging flowers duringthat early evening, but i could scare them away. But then later, they broke in to my back garden and stolen 3 garden animal ornaments. Reported to the police, showed them images on cctv, but told me if i don't know exactly where they live and because they are under 10y old, they can't do anything legally. So, what should I do now? How can i get my stuff back, and how can I stop them to return in the future to steal/harass me? Need help/advice please, asap. Thank you
Lulu - 27-Jul-20 @ 4:23 AM
Hello Just after some info and what we can do about anti social behaviour? as a community many have suffered some form of verbal and physical abuse from the family in question, only yesterday was my turnand me being the peace and love type of person i am I tried to resolve it as amibically as I could and went to see the parents. It might seem trivial to some but the children in question are not from our area and come and visit family. for years they have victimised other children and adults when challenged over behaviours and are constantly fighting, the parents do nothing and continue to allow these children to roam the streets and park when it was open and when other families confront them and raise concerns about their child's behaviour they do nothing. A lot of the bahaviour is swearing and fighting but it's constant and not one weekend or weekday they are down goes by where some family hasn't been at the brunt of their abuse , sorry to rant so my question is, how can we as a community protect our young and ourselfs can the children/teens be issued with an asbo or the parents and does it need the whole community to speak out for one to be placed ?? As I know just like the drug crime and many other issues a lot of our community are afraid to report and will sit back and take or watch what's going on around them Thanks
Tell me more - 26-Jul-20 @ 7:54 PM
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