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Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

What is anti-social behaviour?

7.The term “anti-social behaviour” describes the everyday nuisance, disorder and crime that has a huge impact on victims’ quality of life. In the year ending March 2013, 2.3 million incidents of anti-social behaviour were recorded by the police in England and Wales, equivalent to around 6,300 incidents every day. However, many incidents are not reported at all, or are reported to other agencies such as local councils or social landlords.

8.Much of what is described as anti-social behaviour is criminal (for example, vandalism, graffiti, aggressive begging and people being drunk or rowdy in public), but current legislation also provides a range of civil powers, such as the anti-social behaviour order (“ASBO”) and the anti-social behaviour injunction (“ASBI”). These offer an alternative to criminal prosecution and give the police and other agencies the ability to deal with the cumulative impact of an individual’s behaviour, rather than focus on a specific offence. Some powers, such as the ASBI, have a lower standard of proof (that is, the civil “balance of probabilities” rather than the criminal “beyond reasonable doubt”). While the ASBO can be used by a number of agencies, the ASBI can only be used by social landlords.

9.In addition, informal interventions and out-of-court disposals are an important part of professionals’ toolkit for dealing with anti-social behaviour, offering a proportionate response to first-time or low-level incidents and a chance to intervene early and prevent behaviour from escalating. For example, tools such as warning letters and acceptable behaviour agreements are often used to deal with low-level anti-social behaviour, with one intervention frequently enough to stop the behaviour.

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