Anti-social behaviour is one of the major causes of problems in local communities and also adds to fear of crime for local residents.
Anti-social behaviour is any kind of repeated behaviour that is likely to cause alarm or distress. It affects people in a wide range of ways and is related to issues such as:-
- persistent nuisance
- noise / air pollution
- excessive noise, particularly at night
- street fights
- lack of control over pets
- failure to upkeep property/lands
- repeated unauthorised use of premises
- abandoned vehicles
- vandalism and graffiti
- damage to property
- verbal harassment
- drunken behaviour
- drug dealing and use
Anti-social behaviour does not have a simple solution. Responses require work from many partners (eg council, health services, fire service and the environment agency) and many different forms of involvement. Members of the public can also become involved in helping to resolve situations of anti social behaviour.
Dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour
We will not always automatically attend reports of anti-social behaviour as the behaviour normally stops before we arrive. However, we are concerned about anti-social behaviour and will take action to solve in the longer term.
In reaction to persistent anti-social behaviour, we can impose dispersals (the power to break up groups causing a nuisance) and can also apply for ASBOs (anti social behaviour orders).
We are involved in proactively tackling the problem of anti-social behaviour. We have become involved in activities and educational schemes, helping deflect potential offenders, and educating people about the consequences of committing anti-social behaviour.
Members of the public can also aid us in tackling anti-social behaviour. Here are some useful tips:-
- Keep a log including times, dates and details of the activity. This is one of the best ways of gathering evidence to support any proceedings
- Consider speaking to the person responsible for the issue. This is best done when you are calm, as tempers can easily flare when dealing with nuisance
- You might consider contacting a neutral third party to help resolve the matter
- Involve your local authority by discussing the anti social behaviour with your council community safety officer
- If the problem is a persistent noise or public health issue, contact your council’s environmental health department
- If the problem is child related, contact social services
Contact your local neighbourhood policing team. You can discuss your concerns and if the issue cannot be resolved by the police, they will provide a link through to our partner agencies.
Some of the current issues that the police are working with local partners to deal with are:-
- mini motor bikes
- underage drinking
How we can deal with problems in the area
A dispersal order can be placed on an area for a specific amount of time where the community has suffered from persistent intimidation and harassment.
A dispersal gives police officers the right to:
- To tell people in the group to leave the area (either immediately or at a stated time and in stated way)
- Tell people who don’t live in the area to leave (either immediately or at a stated time and in stated way)
- Tell people who don’t live in the area not to return to the area or any part of it for such period (not exceeding 24 hours) from where the direction as given, as he/she may specify
A person who knowingly contravenes this is liable to a fine of up to £2500 or up to 3 months in custody. The police officer also has the power of arrest in such a case.
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders
Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) are civil orders made by a court which prohibit a person from specific anti-social acts and from entering defined areas on a map (exclusion zones). An order can last for a minimum of two years. The purpose of an ASBO is to protect the public from behaviour that causes, or is likely to cause, harassment or alarm or distress, rather than to specifically punish an offender.
ASBOs can be put in place once sufficient evidence is gathered about the behaviour of a particular person.
This requires the police and other local partners to record evidence and collect information from members of the public, local businesses, and other relevant agencies. Once in place, ASBOs are mostly successful if all the people involved in helping to apply for one, continue to provide information.
Applications for ASBOs are put before a local magistrates court, either by the local authority, or the police if the matter is criminal. If an order is granted, normally the recipient will be named to ensure the order is applied effectively and has a positive effect on the people and area it is designed to help.
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts
Police and local agencies can also use Acceptable Behaviour Contracts to try to curb anti-social behaviour. The contracts are flexible voluntary agreements between the people involved in anti social behaviour, the local police and any other local partner agencies that may be affected. The contracts can be used with both adults and young people and have proved an effective means of encouraging people to take responsibility for unacceptable behaviour.
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