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Reducing Anti-Social Behaviour

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What can be done to stop anti-social behaviour?

This information is designed to explain some of the most common legal remedies and other interventions available to the Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction Officer and partner agencies, landlords and residents in regard to acts of anti-social behaviour. Not all complaints about acts of anti-social behaviour go as far as the courts; many are solved by talking through the problem with perpetrators or by the intervention of another agency.

Only the most persistent and severe cases go to court, these taking a lot of time, effort and money. Sometimes even a court order will not end the problem; the final resort may be the loss of a person's home or liberty. So what are some of the interventions and legal remedies available to us and others?

What you can to do stop anti-social behaviour

Have you spoken to the person causing you distress? Often this person may not realise the effect they are having on your enjoyment of your home or neighbourhood. The first step is to speak to them and explain how their behaviour is impacting on your life. If you are speaking to someone:

  • Keep calm and do not raise your voice even if they do

  • Define your problem and suggest workable solution

  • Allow the other party to respond and put their point of view

  • Agree a course of action and review its progress

  • Do not make unfounded allegations

  • Do not make threats or swear and do not retaliate

Please note: You should not speak to someone who you believe to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or mentally unstable. Do not approach a gang of people of any age - call the police if their behaviour warrants it. If the problems persist contact the council offices, ideally in writing, and we will try to help or offer you the appropriate advice.

What the council can do to stop anti-social behaviour

Interventions

Before legal actions are pursued against the perpetrators of anti-social behaviour the Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction Officer will work with complainants, and partner agencies to help resolve the problems. Our work with other agencies includes:

  • A youth referral scheme operated by the police designed to spot persistent offenders

  • Environmental improvements undertaken by the council or landlord or other partner

  • Outreach contact by youth workers with young people on the streets

  • Activities in youth centres

  • Enforcing tenancy conditions by social landlords

  • Where appropriate, fixed penalty fines for acts of anti-social behaviour and disorder, dog fouling, littering, riding bikes on footpaths, drunken behaviour, graffiti

  • Encouraging young people into diversionary activities such as sports, arts, culture, voluntary work, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Tag Rugby

  • The Youth Offending Team and Probation Service can work closely with offenders on a variety of schemes to change patterns of behaviour

  • Schemes to reinforce positive behaviour in young people

  • Mentoring schemes for young or vulnerable people

  • Resettlement and support for the most vulnerable members of our community

  • A crackdown on street drinking of alcohol and sale to juveniles

  • Mediation services for neighbour disputes and noise nuisance

  • Diversionary programmes in schools

Legal terms

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC).  An ABC is a written contract between an individual who has been involved in anti-social behaviour and the council, police or social landlord. ABCs are most commonly used for young people, but they may also be used for adults, and will contain a list of prohibitions agreed to prevent future acts. ABCs have no force in law and are totally voluntary.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO).  ASBOs are civil orders designed to protect communities from behaviour that causes harassment, alarm and distress. ASBOs are awarded by the magistrates court and are applied for by the police and council. Recently registered social landlords have also been granted the power to apply. The police may also apply for an ASBO upon conviction of a criminal offence if it is felt appropriate.

The order is applied to an individual and usually prohibits them from being in a specific area, undertaking specified acts or associating with named persons. ASBOs are not classed as a criminal conviction and do not appear on a person's criminal record. However should the person breach the ASBO, by undertaking an act prohibited within it, they are liable to be arrested and the court can imprison them for up to six months. They will then have a criminal record.

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