Anti-social behaviour is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance or disorder that can make a person’s life a misery – from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours.
The Safer Communities hubs co-ordinates and facilitates a multi-agency problem solving approach to tackle these issues as such a wide range of behaviours means that responsibility is shared between a number of organisations for example the police, council and social landlords.
Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour
Dealing with anti-social behaviour can often be as complex as the behaviour is itself; and there may be different approaches (both informally and formally) taken to resolve the problem.
Anti-social behaviour can be considered to be of a low level and better dealt with through an informal resolution.
Some of the more informal sanctions can be
- giving the offender a warning either verbally or in writing
- reimburse for any damage caused
- getting the offender to identify, acknowledge and try to resolve the causes of the behaviour (i.e. does the offender only behave in a certain way when they have been drinking alcohol)
- having the offender agree to an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) – a voluntary agreement between the offender and appropriate organisations such as the police, local council or housing provider that commits the offender to abide by the terms of the contract until such time as the anti-social behaviour has diminished
Formal Powers and Tools
When informal sanctions have not stopped the anti-social behaviour from occurring, the police and council are able to look at more substantial and formal powers – often through the courts. The offenders will have to abide by these sanctions or face more serious punishment such as a prison sentence.
New powers were introduced in late 2014 and early 2015 and include:
- Criminal Behaviour Order – granted in court on the back of any criminal conviction. The order will stop an individual from carrying out the anti-social behaviour but can also make them undertake a positive requirement to change their behaviour
- Civil Injunction – similar to the Criminal Behaviour Order but there does not have to be a criminal conviction to apply for an Injunction. An injunction can be granted against anyone aged over 10 years and can be granted on the basis that an individual is likely to commit anti-social behaviour
- Community Protection Notice – can be issued by the council to stop unreasonable and persistent behaviour that is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those living in an area
- Public Spaces Protection Order – can be issued by the council to stop anti-social activities being carried out in a public space such as a local community park
- Dispersal Power – used by the police to move individuals out of a specified area for up to 48 hours
- Closure Power – used by the police or council to shut down premises or close off open space that is being used to cause anti-social behaviour for up to a maximum of 6 months
You can see a list of active and expired Public Spaces Protection Order in North Yorkshire here.