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Anti-social behaviour

Find out what anti-social behaviour is, and what you may be able to do about it.

Published: 14 July 2021

Last updated: 6 July 2022

What is anti-social behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is defined as ‘any aggressive, intimidating or destructive activity that damages or destroys another person’s quality of life’ (Home Office). 

ASB covers a wide range of unacceptable activity that causes harm to an individual, to their community or to their environment. This could be an action by someone else that leaves you feeling alarmed, harassed or distressed. It also includes fear of crime or concern for public safety, public disorder or public nuisance. 

Examples of anti-social behaviour

Examples include, but aren't limited to:

  • nuisance, noisy, rowdy or inconsiderate neighbours
  • verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour
  • hate related incidents
  • noise used to harass or intimidate
  • drug or substance misuse and dealing
  • alcohol related nuisance
  • vandalism and damage to property
  • misuse of communal areas, public space or loitering
  • environmental damage including littering, dumping of rubbish and fly tipping
  • prostitution related activity
  • begging
  • fireworks misuse
  • animal problems
  • vehicle nuisance

The definition of ASB is open to interpretation based on personal tolerance and perceptions, however the following are not considered to be anti-social behaviour:

  • children and young people gathering socially, unless they are rowdy, inconsiderate and being intimidating to individuals
  • children playing in the street or communal areas – unless they are causing damage to properties
  • being unable to park outside your own home
  • DIY and off-road car repairs unless these are taking place late at night or early in the morning. 

What can I do about it?

The local authority, police, social housing landlords and Fire & Rescue service all have a responsibility to deal with ASB and to help people who are suffering from it.  Whilst we work in partnership with all these agencies to tackle ASB, a significant amount of the complex cases that we resolve could have been avoided through the earliest of interventions.

We have provided a few ideas of how you can play a role in addressing anti-social behaviour before it escalates further.

  • before reporting the ASB, you should start by firstly speaking with your neighbour about your concerns, you may like to use the Dear Neighbour Card to do this, examples of these can be found on the web - it is likely that your neighbour would prefer that you speak with them first before contacting the council as they may not be aware they are causing a problem
  • keep a Nuisance Log of the behaviour with dates and times, and a description of the nuisance & persons involved. This can be used to support future enforcement action if required
  • if you live in a rented property or social housing, your landlord or housing association may be able to help you by offering advice and support
  • contact your neighbour’s landlord, if they are renting privately
  • use a mediation service