Anti Social Behaviour Bill
Where are we now
In December 2012 the Home Office published a draft Bill on tackling anti social behaviour (ASB). The Bill was amended and announced in Queen’s speech and was laid before parliament on 9th May 2013 and likely to become an Act in 2014.
Why the Changes?
The justification behind the Bill (as set out in the White Paper May 2012) is to speed up the process of tackling ASB whilst driving down the cost of doing so coupled with empowering communities and ensuring that all agencies and individuals focus on the needs of the victim. The new measures are designed to give the victims of ASB a voice on how perpetrators/offenders are dealt with and simplify the options available to police and other bodies.
Theresa May (Home Secretary) stated in the executive summary that she wants to “empower victims and communities” and will “introduce faster and more effective powers to stop the dangerous and yobbish behaviour of those who make victims lives a misery.”
What will change?
The below current tools will be abolished
Drink Banning orders
Dog control order
Individual Support Orders
Litter clearing notice
And will be replaced with 6 new powers
The ASB Toolkit comprises of three powers to tackle ASB specifically:
Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) that can be attached to a criminal conviction.
Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNA)
Dispersal Powers, consolidating a number of existing police powers.
And three further new powers to deal with environmental ASB and public nuisance.
Community Protection Notices to stop persistent, unreasonable behaviour that is detrimental to the amenity of the locality or is having a negative impact on the local community’s quality of life.
Community Protection Orders (Public Space) placing local restrictions to address a range of ASB issues in public places, and prevent future problems.
Community Order (Closure)to protect victims quickly by issuing an order to temporarily close any property for 48hours if there is a public nuisance or if there is likely to be disorder.
Out of the above we as a Housing Provider will only have two powers available to us. Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance.
Is a civil order, which with a civil burden of proof ‘on the balance of probabilities’ will make it easier and quicker to obtain. It will replace the ASBO and ASBI. It can be obtained against youths in Youth Court (Magistrates) with a maximum 1 year term and adults in County Court. Housing providers must prove it is ‘housing related’ and the test is conduct capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance and that it is just and convenient. Police officers and other professionals can give evidence on behalf of the community which helps to protect vulnerable witnesses. The injunctions will contain positive and negative clauses in order to change behaviour rather than just stopping a person from doing something.
Community Protection Notice
This will be available to registered providers if they are designated by the local authority. It is notice intended to stop on going problems which negatively affect the community’s quality of life such as failing to control a dog, litter, graffiti.
The Bill also includes two new measures to enable the response to ASB focus on the needs of the victim.
The ‘community trigger’ will allow communities to force agencies to deal with anti-social behaviour. The threshold for the trigger will be behaviour causing “nuisance alarm and distress”, based on either:
Three or more complaints from one individual about the same problem, where no action has been taken; or
Five individuals complaining about the same problem where no action has been taken by relevant agencies.
The legislation does not spell out exactly how local areas should implement the trigger, it is envisaged that if a complaint meets the threshold the