Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a raft of changes to anti-social behaviour laws, replacing Asbos with a community trigger that will force police to investigate repeated complaints.
If you have troublesome neighbours, here is what you should do:
- Firstly, speak to your local neighbourhood policing team who work closely with the community to to help stop anti-social behaviour. They can provide support and advice on how to deal with the situation.
- If you fear for your or others safety call your local police directly. Click here to find out the details of your local force.
- Once the police are aware of the problem they may ask you to log their behaviour and keep them informed on any new incidents
- The police need as much evidence as possible if they are to take legal action.
- If you have noisy neighbours, your local council and not the police may become involved.
Current punishments for anti-social behaviour
- Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABCs) - This is a contract between the local council or police and the person causing problems within the community. ABCs allow that person to acknowledge what they have done wrong and while they are not legally binding, they can be referred to in court at a later date.
- Fixed penalty notices - This is a one-off fine that are usually issued for environmental crimes like, graffiti, noise nuisances and littering.
- Penalty notices for disorder - Yet again, this is a one-off fine but for more serious offences such as, throwing fireworks, being drunk and disorderly in public and selling alcohol to those underage.
- Anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) - This is a court order banning anti-social behaviour or stopping people entering an area where the trouble has occurred. Asbos remain in place for two years but are not criminal penalties. Not obeying the order is a crime and can lead to imprisonment.
- Dispersal orders - Groups can be forced to leave a particular area if they have been disruptive. The council must agree to a dispersal order and the people involved would not be able to return to the area for the length of time set out.
What reforms are being bought in?
- A new Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) will be used to ban an individual from particular activities or places.
- A civil Crime Prevention Injunctions (CPI) will be brought in to give agencies an immediate power to protect victims and communities.
- Simpler powers to close premises that are a magnet for trouble and tougher action over nightmare neighbours will be introduced.
- The police will be forced to investigate any incident reported by at least five people, or any three separate complaints by the same person.
- A Community Protection Notice would punish people who blight their community, for example by using their garden as a dumping ground.
For more on reporting anti-social behaviour, go to direct.gov.uk.