Today (Monday 20 October), new powers are coming into force which will enable the police, local councils, social landlords and other agencies to better tackle anti-social behaviour, and enable victims and communities to feel safe in their own homes and neighbourhoods.
Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of day-to-day incidents – from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or noisy or abusive neighbours – that can cause misery, either to an individual or the wider community.
To provide better protection for victims and communities, the government has introduced the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which provides simpler, more effective powers to tackle anti-social behaviour.
A number of new measures to better protect communities from the serious harm caused by anti-social behaviour have come into force today. They are:
- the criminal behaviour order which is issued by the courts after a person has been convicted for a criminal offence. Under the order, a person who has been convicted would be banned from certain activities or places, and would also be required to address their behaviour, for example by attending a drug treatment programme. A breach could see an adult face up to five years in prison.
- the police dispersal power allows the police to disperse anti-social individuals and provide short-term respite to a local community. The power is preventative and allows an officer to deal instantly with someone’s behaviour in a particular place and to confiscate related items.
- the community protection notice enables local authorities and police to stop persistent environmental anti-social behaviour, like graffiti, neighbour noise or rubbish on private land.
- the public spaces protection order is a power which allows a local council to deal with a particular nuisance or problem that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life by imposing universal conditions on the use of that area. This can be used to tackle issues like dog fouling and restricting the consumption of alcohol.
- the closure power which allows the police or local council to close premises where anti-social behaviour has been committed, or was likely to be committed.
- the new absolute ground for possession which will speed up the possession process in cases where anti-social behaviour or criminality has already been proven by another court.
Giving victims a say
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 also includes two new measures which are designed to give victims and communities a say in the way anti-social behaviour is dealt with:
- the community trigger which gives victims the ability to demand action, starting with a review of their case, where the locally defined threshold is met.
- the community remedy which gives victims a say in the out-of-court punishment of perpetrators for low-level crime and anti-social behaviour.
These powers are more flexible, quicker to obtain and less bureaucratic, making it easier for the police, local councils, social landlords and other local agencies to deal with anti-social behaviour and puts victims at the heart of the process.