Anti-social behaviour is any behaviour which causes people harassment, alarm or distress. Read more about the types of anti-social behaviour on the Citizens Advice Bureau.
On occasions anti-social behaviour can be linked with criminal activity such as drug dealing / taking, street prostitution or other crimes. Westminster City Council works with the police, housing providers and other local agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in the City.
You can help the police and other agencies to tackle problems in your neighbourhood by reporting anti-social behaviour when you see it. Evidence from victims and witnesses is important because it demonstrates the distress and annoyance of anti-social behaviour, and shows how it damages the community. If you report being a victim or witness of anti-social behaviour, support is available at every stage of action.
Depending on the behaviour, sometimes all that is needed is a talk with local police explaining that the behaviour is unacceptable. For more serious and persistent behaviour a range of options are available which where breached can lead to a fine or imprisonment. The options available in each case will depend on the type of anti-social behaviour and the specific circumstances of the case.
A community remedy gives victims a say in the out-of-court punishment of perpetrators for low-level crime and anti-social behaviour. A community remedy can only be carried out by a police officer, or a person authorised by a relevant prosecutor for conditional cautions or youth conditional cautions.
A civil injunction is used to prevent individuals engaging in anti-social behaviour. Civil injunctions can include prohibitions, such as exclusions, to prevent individuals from continuing to engage in certain behaviours in specific areas, for example drunken behaviour, and excessive noise. They can also contain positive requirements in order for underlying issues fuelling certain behaviours to be addressed, for example, substance misuse.
A civil injunction can be issued against anyone aged 10 years and over. A youth court would grant an order against a person under the age of 18 years. An injunction against a young person can last no longer than 12 months but injunctions against adults can run indefinitely.
A criminal behaviour order (CBO) recently replaced the Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). It can be applied for following a conviction which may be unrelated to anti-social behaviour. As with a civil injunction, the order will have prohibitions and may have positive requirements. Criminal behaviour orders should only be applied for against the most prolific and persistent perpetrators. Breaching a criminal behaviour order is a criminal offence.
The dispersal power is a tool that requires a person committing, or likely to commit anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder, to leave an area for up to 48 hours. It can only be used by police officers in uniform and police community support officers (PCSOs) who have been designated by their chief constable.
A community protection notice (CPN) is designed to stop a person (aged 16 years or over), business or organisation from committing anti-social behaviour that has a negative impact on the local community. Examples of such behaviour can include graffiti, littering or noise nuisance.
Public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) are intended to deal with a problems in a particular areas that are considered to be having a detrimental effect on the surrounding area. The order is designed to prevent individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in a public space by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone. They are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
The closure power is a tool that is designed to allow the police or council to quickly close premises which are being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder. Once the order is granted it excludes anyone from entering or remaining in the premises for a period of up to 6 months.
The order can only be applied for by the police and Local Authority, and it is only considered in the most serious cases where all other interventions have failed. It offers immediate respite for victims of anti-social behaviour related to a premise.
An absolute ground for possession is a new piece of legislation brought in to allow social and private landlords to obtain possession of a property in a secure and assured tenancy where anti-social behaviour or criminality has been proven by another court.
An application can be made when the tenant, a member of the tenant’s household, or a person visiting the property has met one of the following conditions:
• convicted of a serious offence (specified in Schedule 2A to the Housing Act 1985)
• found by a court to have breached a civil injunction
• convicted for breaching a criminal behaviour order (CBO)
• convicted for breaching a noise abatement notice
• the tenant’s property has been closed for more than 48 hours under a closure order for anti-social behaviour
There is support available for all types of anti-social behaviour, both for victims as well as perpetrators.
When reporting anti-social behaviour to your housing provider, they will be able to advise you on appropriate support services. This information should be included in their ASB policy which you can access on their website. Many housing providers offer a free mediation service to support you and your neighbours to work through your problem and reach an amicable solution.
Westminster’s ASB Caseworkers work on cases where the circumstances are complex or the victim or perpetrator may be vulnerable. They have extensive knowledge of the various legislative and housing tools available to reduce or stop anti social behaviour and are skilled at victim support. They will:
If you feel threatened about giving evidence we can provide a hearsay statement on your behalf. This allows you to report the behaviour anonymously.
You will be allocated an ASB Caseworker from our team to agree a plan of support; this could include one to one visits, catch up emails, or regular phone calls to provide updates on the case.
We also offer access to a mediation service called Confidential and Local Mediation (CALM) who provide mediation for community members in conflict, helping them reach a resolution and reduce tension.
Hate crime includes any criminal or non-criminal offence that was motivated by prejudice against someone's actual or perceived race, religion, disability, sexual orientation and/or, transgender identity.
Hate crime can include verbal abuse, online abuse, harassment or violence from strangers, neighbours, or people you know well.
Westminster City Council is taking part in a yearlong scheme starting on 1 April 2016 to provide an enhanced partnership approach for victims of hate crime to get support and advice on how to tackle this type of behaviour.
If you are a victim or witness to a crime or are involved in court proceedings as a result of criminal or anti social behaviour, support can be offered through London’s Victim Support Service.
NPSCs are responsible for facilitating multi-agency, problem-solving to tackle anti-social behaviour in wards across Westminster. Each ward has a dedicated NPSC and local problem-solving meetings are held regularly. Key local partners include police, residents groups, housing providers, and City Inspectors.