Anti-social behaviour legislation
A summary of the seven new powers of the Anti-social Behaviour Police & Crime Act 2014.
The new powers replace the old ASB Injunction. A Civil Injunction can be sought via the County Court to bring about an immediate change in behaviour that is considered persistent and anti social. A breach of one of the injunctions can be an arrestable offence and grounds for absolute possession of a tenants property (see part 5 for more detail on this important change).
Criminal Behaviour Order
This replaces the old ASBO and can be sought against a person on conviction of an offence. The CBO can place conditions on that person to stop them acting in an anti social way and to make them seek support to address any underlying issues such as drink or drugs misuse through rehabilitation. A Breach of these orders is also an arrestable offence and grounds for absolute possession.
The police can now require anyone to leave a predefined public place where they are suspected of being involved in, or are likely to become involved in, ASB and/or disorder and to confiscate any object they believe may be used to do something anti social within that defined public place.
The local authority now have the power to issue a Community Protection Notice (CPN) requiring an individual or a business engaged in ASB activities to stop what they are doing if that activity has a negative impact on any individual or the environment or the community.
If necessary, the individual or business must repair any damage they may have caused and undertake steps to prevent such further negative impact. If they do not do this they can be taken to court and made to pay for any costs of up to £20,000 (for a business) incurred by the authorities to bring about the end of the negative impact.
Public Space Protection Orders
The local authority now has the power to define an area as being under special protection from listed activities that are deemed persistent anti social or negative to the wider community.
This can include naming individuals or all members of the public from engaging in specified activities within the defined area by the order (an example would be creating an area in which it is an offence to consume alcohol).
The order can last up to three years and can include any number of prohibitions to prevent persistent ASB. To see where in Watford there are Public Space Protection Orders in use and the prohibitions in place within those areas, go to the Public Spaces Protection Page.
These orders allow the police and local authorities to close a premises that is persistently reported to be connected with ASB or to close a property that the police believe will be used for ASB and public order offence(s).
Grounds for Absolute Possession:
The authorities now have grounds for absolute possession of a property where the tenant has engaged in persistent ASB or has breached either a civil injunction or a criminal behaviour order. The request for possession cannot be denied by the courts so long as the request is shown to be proportionate and reasonable. This will give landlords a much quicker access to the power to evict ASB tenants.
Community Review and the Community Trigger
These parts of the act set out the authority’s responsibility for investigating ASB, and for the authority to seek a remedy to cases (whenever practicable) that include the wishes of the victim if they have a preference for how the case be resolved.
This could range from an apology to the victim to making good on any damage to full prosecution through the court, depending on the choice of the victim and whether the action is proportionate to the impact suffered as a result of the ASB.
The community trigger allows a member or members of the public who has made three separate complaints in the last six months regarding ASB to ask for a review of how those complaints were dealt with by the authorities.
For more information on how to call for a review of your complaints see the Community Trigger page.