Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

The Police and their partner agencies have various powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

Anti-social behaviour orders were introduced by section 1 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 in England and Wales and have been available since April 1999.  The powers to impose ASBO's were strengthened and extended by the Police Reform Act 2002, which introduced orders made on conviction in criminal proceedings, orders in county court proceedings and interim orders. Orders  now extend across England and Wales.
ASBO's are civil orders that exist to protect the public from behaviour that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.  An order contains conditions called prohibitions. Prohibitions are placed on the individual in order to prevent the offender from specific anti-social acts.
The order will last a minimum of two years.  Breach of an ASBO is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for a breach is five years for an adult and a 2 year detention and training order for juveniles, 12 months of which is custodial.

Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order (CrASBO)

Criminal Court, Magistrates' Court, Crown Court and the Youth Court are all able to make orders against an individual who has been convicted of a criminal offence.
The order on conviction is considered and made by the court after the verdict during a civil hearing.  It is not part of the sentence the offender receives for the criminal offence.  It can only be made in addition to a sentence or a conditional discharge.

The order will be granted on the basis of the evidence presented to the court during the criminal proceedings and any additional evidence provided to the court after the verdict.

The court may make an order on conviction on its own initiative and an application for an order is not required. Alternatively, the order can be requested by the police, who may make representations to the court in support of the request.

The order on conviction is a civil order and has the same effect as an ASBO made on application - it contains prohibitions just like an ASBO.

If the offender is detained in custody the court may make provision for the order on conviction to become effective on his or her release.

The order will last a minimum of two years.

Breach of a CrASBO is a criminal offence. The maximum penalty for a breach is five years for an adult and a 2 year detention and training order for juveniles, 12 months of which is custodial.

Who can an order be made against?

An order is made against an individual. It can be made against anyone aged 10 years or more who has acted in an anti-social manner and where an order is needed to protect person(s) from further anti-social acts

Who can apply for an order?

Agencies able to apply for orders are defined as 'relevant authorities' in the legislation (section 1(1A) of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998). These are:

  • Police forces (including the British Transport Police)
  • Local authorities
  • Registered Social Landlords as defined by section 1 of the Housing Act 1996.  Under section 1(12) of the 1998 Act the Local Authority is the district council or Unitary Authority. Examples in Cleveland are Erimus, Coast & Country, Home Housing and Tristar.

Which courts can make ASBOs?

  • Magistrates' courts (acting in their civil capacity)
  • County courts (where the principal proceedings involve anti-social behaviour by those who are party to the proceedings)
  • Magistrates' courts (on conviction in criminal proceedings)
  • The Crown Court (on conviction in criminal proceedings)
  • Youth courts (on conviction in criminal proceedings)