Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is defined as ‘behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person’. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, disorder or nuisance.
Whilst ASB is not a specific crime, it does include a range of vexatious behaviours which cause distress both in the short term, but also often lead to an increase in crime, particularly violence and criminal damage, thus having a lasting impact on neighbourhoods and communities.
Residents consistently place Antisocial Behaviour in their top 5, in the surveys of their main concerns. Local social media Groups are depressingly full of reports of incidents. We would remind residents of the Police’s recommendation to REPORT incidents and not solely vent frustration on social media.
“The Importance of REPORTING Crime and Bad Behaviour” – posted Friday, August 7th, 2020
One very practical reason for reporting incidents is that, if incidences of ASB reach an intolerable level and you feel your concerns are not being listened to, you can request a Community Trigger, but incidents need to have been reported (see below).
Defining Antisocial Behaviour
Thames Valley Police lists three main categories for antisocial behaviour, depending on how many people are affected:
- Personal antisocial behaviour is when a person targets a specific individual or group.
- Nuisance antisocial behaviour is when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community.
- Environmental antisocial behaviour is when a person’s actions affect the wider environment, such as public spaces or buildings.
It then lists 13 different types of Antisocial Behaviour:
- Vehicle abandoned: This covers vehicles that appear to have been left by their owner, rather than stolen and abandoned. It includes scrap or ‘end of life’ vehicles and those damaged at the scene of a road traffic collision that have been abandoned and aren’t awaiting recovery.
- Vehicle nuisance or inappropriate use: This relates to vehicles being used in acts such as street cruising (driving up and down the street causing annoyance and bothering other road users), vehicle convoys and riding or driving on land other than a road. It also covers the misuse of go-peds, motorised skateboards and electric-propelled cycles, and the unlicensed dealing of vehicles where a person has two or more vehicles on the same road within 500 metres of each other.
- Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour: This refers to general nuisance behaviour in a public place or a place to which the public have access, such as private clubs. It does not include domestic-related behaviour, harassment or public disorder which should be reported as crimes.
- Rowdy or nuisance neighbours: This covers any rowdy behaviour or general nuisance caused by neighbours, including boundary and parking disputes. It also covers noise nuisance from parties or playing loud music.
- Littering or drugs paraphernalia: This includes fly posting and discarding litter, rubbish or drugs paraphernalia in any public place.
- Animal problems: This covers any situation where animals are creating a nuisance or people’s behaviour associated with the use of animals is deemed as antisocial. It includes uncontrolled animals, stray dogs, barking, fouling and intimidation by an animal.
- Trespassing: This is any situation in which people have entered land, water or premises without lawful authority or permission. It ranges from taking an unauthorised shortcut through a garden to setting up unauthorised campsites.
- Nuisance calls: This covers any type of communication by phone that causes anxiety and annoyance, including silent calls and intrusive ‘cold calling’ from businesses. It does not cover indecent, threatening or offensive behaviour which should be reported as crimes.
- Street drinking: This relates to unlicensed drinking in public spaces, where the behaviour of the persons involved is deemed as antisocial. It also covers unplanned and spontaneous parties which encroach on the street.
- Prostitution-related activity: This relates to any activity involving prostitution such as loitering, displaying cards or promoting prostitution. It may also refer to activities in and around a brothel that impact on local residents. It does not include ‘kerb-crawling’ which should be reported as a crime.
- Nuisance noise: This relates to all incidents of noise nuisance that do not involve neighbours (see ‘Nuisance neighbours’ above).
- Begging: This covers anyone begging or asking for charitable donations in a public place, or encouraging a child to do so, without a license. Unlicensed ticket sellers at or near public transport hubs may also fall into this category.
- Misuse of fireworks: This will include the inappropriate use of fireworks, the unlawful sale or possession of fireworks and noise created by fireworks.
Reporting Antisocial Behaviour
The responsibility for tackling antisocial behaviour depends on the specific nature and circumstances of the concern and may fall to the local authority, police or your housing association.
Dealing with Antisocial Behaviour
Obviously it is desirable that a situation can be addressed by communication and reason. For the agencies above, usually this will be the first step, and this may include a formal offer of Mediation.
Mediation Buckinghamshire – not-for-profit provider of mediation services, including FREE neighbour and community mediations.
Where ASB causes a persistent nuisance and individuals or groups of people are not prepared to behave reasonably, there are a number of routes in which matters can be escalated, and tools available. These include:
Community Triggers – a process for victims of repeat anti-social behaviour to request a review of their case. To use this process, the victim must have made three reports of anti-social behaviour to various organisations including Buckinghamshire Council, the Police, housing association or health provider within the past 6 months; all reports must have been made within one month of the incident occurring.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) – PSPOs deal with particular problems that have a negative impact on a local community. They set rules on the use of an area and are designed to ensure people can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
Local councils must let the public know where PSPOs are in place. Within Chiltern and South Bucks, the following PSPOs are in force:
- restrictions on consuming or carrying alcohol in specified areas of Chesham and Amersham, in breach of an authorised officer’s request to cease consumption or surrender the package; expires 30th October 2022.
- a PSPO on Council-controlled car parks since 2018; consultation closed 21 February 2021 on whether this should be extended.
- Dorney Lake Public Spaces Protection Order, effective from 11 March 2020 and in force for 3 years expiring on 10 March 2023
Community Protection Notices (CPNs) – designed to stop a person aged 16 or over, business or organisation committing antisocial behaviour (ASB) which spoils the community’s quality of life. Can cover a wide range of behaviour. Can be issues by council officers, police officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) or social landlords, if designated by the council.