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What we can do to stop Anti-social Behaviour

What we can do to stop anti-social behaviour

The below information is designed to explain some of the most common interventions and legal remedies available to the Borough of Poole and our partner agencies in regard to acts of anti-social behaviour.

Not all complaints about acts of anti-social behaviour go as far as the court, many are solved by talking through the problem with perpetrators or by the intervention of another agency. Only the most persistent and severe cases go to court, these cases consume a lot of time, effort and money. Sometimes even a court order will not end the behaviour, the final resort may be the loss of a person’s home or liberty.

Interventions

Before any legal actions are considered in an anti-social behaviour case the Community Services Team will work with victims, perpetrators and its partner agencies to help resolve the problems. None legal remedies include:

  • Verbal and written warnings to the perpetrator.
  • Environmental improvements undertaken by the council or landlord.
  • Outreach contact by youth workers with young people on the streets.
  • Activities in youth centres.
  • Enforcing tenancy conditions by social and private landlords.
  • Fixed penalty fines for acts of anti-social behaviour and disorder, dog fouling, littering, drunken behaviour and graffiti.
  • Encouraging young people into diversionary activities such as sports, arts, culture, voluntary work, Princes Trust,

     

    Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
  • The Youth Offending Service and Probation Service work with offenders on a variety of schemes to change patterns of behaviour.
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contracts.
  • Tenancy support for the most vulnerable victims and perpetrators.
  • Swift removal of graffiti, fly-tipped rubbish, abandoned cars and litter.
  • Designated Public Places Order (DPPO) to discourage street drinking and associated disorder.
  • Test purchasing from off licences to discourage underage sales.
  • An active Youth Forum for Poole’s young people.
  • Mediation services for neighbour disputes.
  • Various agencies in Poole work with both adults and young people to prevent and treat drug and alcohol misuse.

Legal Remedies

There are a range of tools and powers available to the council’s Anti-Social Behaviour Officers and our partners that are used to prevent and hopefully stop anti-social behaviour.  The Borough of Poole uses legal remedies to protect vulnerable individuals and communities when other interventions have failed.  These are a few of the powers we most commonly use.

Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) - ASBOs are civil orders designed to protect communities from behaviour that causes harassment, alarm and distress.  ASBOs are awarded by the Magistrate’s Court and are applied for by the Borough of Poole and Dorset Police, and housing associations.  The police may also apply for an ASBO upon conviction of a criminal offence if felt appropriate. The order is applied to an individual and usually prohibits them certain specified behaviours such as being in a specific area, undertaking specified acts or associating with named persons.  Interim orders are available and can also in extreme cases be applied for without notice to the offender.  ASBOs are not classed as a criminal conviction.  However, should the person breach the ASBO by undertaking an act prohibited within it they are liable to arrest and the court can imprison them for up to six months. They will then have a criminal record.

Premises Closure Order – Under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 the Borough of Poole and Dorset Police can apply to the Magistrate’s Court for one of two types of Order that temporarily closes premises for up to three months.  Drug House Closure Order, closes premises where Class A drug dealing is associated with nuisance behaviour.  A Nuisance House Closure Order can be applied for when nuisance behaviour and disorder is associated with a particular property.  Initially a Notice is served that prohibits anyone but the tenant/owner and their immediate family from visiting the property.  Once the Order is granted no one can live at or visit the property for the length of the Order, to do so is a criminal offence.

Eviction - If living in rented accommodation, social or private, perpetrators of anti-social behaviour may be evicted from their homes by their landlord who can apply to the County Court for a Possession Order. If granted these Orders are enforced by the court‘s bailiff.  Prior to the possession hearing a landlord must have served a legal notice informing the tenant of their intentions to seek possession.  Judges sometimes award an interim measure before eviction called a Suspended Possession Order, these in effect give the tenant one last chance to change their behaviour. Social landlords may now apply for an ASBO on tenants or associates on the back of possession proceedings for anti-social behaviour.

Dispersal Order – If anti-social behaviour is being caused in an open or public space by a group of people the Borough of Poole and Dorset Police can designate an area subject to a Dispersal Order under S30 Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003.  The police can then direct people to leave the designated area and if they refuse they can be arrested.

Injunction - An injunction is obtained in the County Court and is designed to prevent or prohibit types of behaviour, access to a person’s or associating with named individuals.  Local Authorities, landlords and individuals can apply to the court for an injunction.  For information contact the court office or a solicitor.

Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction – Social housing landlords can apply for an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI) to enforce tenancy conditions, to protect individuals and communities or to prevent certain behaviours.  Interim and without notice orders are available to the applicants.  If violence or threats of violence are evidenced the court can award a Power of Arrest whereby the police can arrest an individual for a breach of the order.

S222 Injunction – The Local Government Act 1972 allows the council to apply for an injunction to protect communities from harm.  Similar rules to the ASBI apply.

Noise Abatement Notice -Issued by the council’s Environmental & Consumer Protection Services to perpetrators of persistent noise nuisance such as loud stereos and TV.  The notice prohibits certain noisy activities and if breached can result in the confiscation of the equipment and/or a substantial fine.

In 2012 the Government undertook a review of the ASB legal powers and after consultation have plans to replace the current legislation with a raft of new legislation and aim to introduce these in 2014.

Are you subject to legal action?

If you have been informed that the Borough of Poole or one of its partners is intending to take legal action against you because of allegations about your behaviour we recommend that you seek legal advice and attend court.  Unless we are applying to the Court for a without notice ASBO or injunction you will have been issued a summons from the court.  In many cases we may have spoken to you before, tried other interventions or written to you so our intentions may not be a surprise.

Our recommendations are that you seek advice and if you do not have a solicitor contact the Citizens Advice Bureau (0844 245 1291) or Shelter (0344 515 1400) and for young people Quay Advice (01202 262291).  If you are threatened with homelessness please contact the council’s Housing Options Team (01202 633804) for advice on your housing options.


Contact Us

Email
community.safety@poole.go
v.uk

Telephone
01202 633516

Text Relay
18001 01202 633516

Address
Housing and Community Services
Civic Centre
Poole,
BH15 2RU