Anti-Social Behaviour Operational Procedure

Contents

 

Scope and Purpose of this Policy Document 

This document is one of two that tells you about Bassetlaw District Councils anti-social behaviour (ASB) responsibilities and what we do to tackle ASB.

This is the operational procedure document. It tells you how you can expect us to deal with your case should you report ASB to the Council’s Community Safety Team.

The ASB policy document tells you what we mean by ‘anti-social behaviour’ and sets out our responsibilities and objectives.

It says what we want our services to achieve for people experiencing ASB, and details the kind of service level and quality we aim to provide. It also explains the broad approach we have agreed to adopt in order to support and advance our objectives.

As explained in the policy the councils responsibilities to tackle ASB arise from 3 distinct roles, which are:

The Council’s ASB responsibilities

Council Housing Stock

As a landlord, the council has a duty to respond to ASB affecting council properties. The duties and powers are different from, and usually act in addition to, the duties and powers used to deal with the wider community. In this policy (and the operational procedure) we will make it clear when a policy or a power applies only to a council tenancy.

Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership

Under the Crime & Disorder Act, 1998, Bassetlaw District Council must work with the Police and other agencies to reduce crime and disorder in the locality. In this role we play a key part in dealing with anti-social behaviour of all kinds and also undertake project work, preventative and intervention activities.

Our environmental protection role

Bassetlaw District Council has a range of responsibilities to deal with ‘environmental’ ASB like noise, graffiti, litter, dumped rubbish and abandoned cars. These responsibilities arise from a number of acts and local byelaws, but in particular from the Environmental Protection Act, 1990.

The above are intrinsically linked and robust working arrangements have been developed between the teams that deliver the various services.

However, the procedures described in this document refer mainly to our role as a Landlord and the Community Safety Partnership so tend to say more about the work of the Council’s Community Safety Team and Housing Services Team.

Environmental ASB is tackled by a number of different teams within the Council. This procedure sets out the broad investigative approach, however specific procedures followed, may depend on the circumstances and the severity of the ASB, or the legislation being used to remedy the situation.

How we categorise cases

All complaints of anti-social behaviour made to the council are categorised according to their level of seriousness. Incidents reported to the council are categorised as explained in the following table. How a case is rated is an important judgement which may affect how quickly we deal with a case, although we will always keep an open mind and change the rating of a case if we feel it has become more or less serious.

 

Category Definition Response Time (Target)
 High

 1. Behaviour that is a serious risk to individuals other quality of life of the neighbourhood and which may include violence, serious threats of violence or other related criminal activity. 

2. Any complaint (including those that would otherwise be classed Medium) where the complaint or perpetrator is a 'vulnerable adult' as defined by s.59 of the safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006. 

3. Any complaint that would otherwise be classed 'medium' but where there have been previous incidents and it appears to the officer that, taking these together, a more serious position has developed or may be developing

 1 Day
 Medium  Unreasonable, prolonged disturbance such a verbal abuse or persistent noise nuisance  2-5 Days
Low Disputes between neighbours such as disagreements about parking, minor noise issues, children, pets and minor lifestyle difference. No more than 5 Days

Note on the definition of “vulnerability”: S59 of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act provides a comprehensive definition of a “vulnerable adult”. For most practical purposes, the summary definition provided by Department of Health and Home Office publication No Secrets will suffice. This defines a vulnerable adult as a person age 18 years and over “ who is or may be in need of community care services by reason of mental or other disability, age or illness; and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation”.

 

 

What we can do to deal with ASB

Our ASB policy commits us to trying to reach a fair, realistic and lasting solution to ASB problems as quickly as possible. In most non-serious cases we will start with low level action and then, if this does not stop the problem or reduce it to a reasonable and acceptable level, start to take increasingly stronger measures depending on the level of ASB and the evidence available.     

The council (on its own or in partnership with other agencies like the police) can deal with anti-social behaviour problems in a variety of ways. The approach we will take in any individual case will depend on a large number of things, in particular is housing related, whether it is ASB in the wider community or whether it is environmental ASB.

Council policy commits us to using any of the tools and powers available to us under law and council policy, according to our best professional judgement. However, legal remedies can take time. Officers will take the time to explain to victims of ASB the process and that it will be the court that decides whether an application is justified, therefore the better the evidence the more likelihood of success in court.

The introduction of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act, 2014 has led to the introduction of new powers to tackle ASB. They are as follows:

Part 1 Injunction. The Part 1 injunction is a civil power which can be applied for by a range of agencies to deal with anti-social individuals. Agencies that can apply for Part 1 injunctions include district councils, housing providers and Police. Applications must be made to a youth court for those aged under 18 and to the county court or High Court in all other cases. The injunction can prohibit the offender from doing prescribed things (prohibitions) and require them to do certain things (requirements). The requirements should aim to tackle the underlying causes of the anti-social behaviour and could include such things as attending an anger management course, participating in substance misuse awareness sessions, or attending a job readiness course.

Breach of a Part 1 injunction, where the court has attached a power of arrest a constable may arrest the offender without warrant if he or she has reasonable cause to suspect that the offender is in breach of the provision.

Community Protection Warning (CPW) & Community Protection Notice (CPN). The CPW and CPN are intended to deal with particular, on-going problems, or nuisances that negatively affect the community’s quality of life by targeting those responsible. CPWs are the initial first response to alleviate the issue without a need for further escalation. If the matter is not resolved, CPNs can then be served. CPW and CPN’s can be used to tackle a wide range of problem behaviours including (but not limited to) graffiti, rubbish and noise. CPW and CPN’s can be served on any person over the age of 16 or a body, including a business.

Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). The PSPO is intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life, by imposing conditions on the use of the area which apply to everyone. This could include, but is not restricted to, placing restrictions on the use of parks, alleyways, or communal areas to prevent problems with misuse of alcohol, dogs or noise.

Failure to comply with the requirements of the above CPN or PSPO, the offender may be offered the opportunity to discharge their liability to conviction, when a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) may be issued using powers contained within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, it is the Policy of this Council that the amount shall be set at the maximum amount specified, which is currently £100.

Closure Power. The closure power can be used by the District Council and the police to close premises that are causing nuisance or disorder. The power comes in two stages. The closure notice can be used out of court to provide short term relief up to a maximum of 48 hours. The notice can then be extended upon application for a closure order to the magistrates’ court for a period of up to three months. At any time before the expiry of the closure order, an application may be made to the court for an extension (or further extension) of the order up to a total of six months.

Recovery of Possession of Dwelling-Houses. The purpose of the new absolute ground for possession is to speed up the possession process in cases where anti-social behaviour or criminality has already been proven in another court. Landlords will no longer have to prove that it is reasonable to grant possession but, instead, courts must grant possession if the landlord followed the correct procedure and at least one of the specified conditions is met. See Appendix B to the Anti-Social Behaviour Policy

Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC’s). ABC’s are voluntary written agreements      between persons who have   been involved with ASB and one or more agencies including the District Council to prevent such behaviour.

Good Neighbour Agreements. A formal written agreement negotiated between neighbours in cases of neighbour disputes that require a different approach, particularly with owner occupiers, to change behaviours over time.

Tenancy Agreement. Under the terms and conditions of the tenancy agreement, tenants are responsible for the behaviour of everyone (including children) living in or visiting their home or neighbourhood.

 

Provision When Effect Penalty
Part 1 Injunction

Can be granted against a person aged 10 or over if two conditions are:

  • On the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in ASB
  • The court considers it just and convenient to grant the injunction for the purpose of preventing the respondent from engaging in asb

An injunction may:

  • Prohibit the respondent from doing anything described in the injunction
  • Require the respondent to do anything described in the injunction

Power of arrest can be attached.

In other cases, application must be made to the court for an arrest warrant in event of a breach.

Penalty for breach of the conditions of an injunction can result in 2 years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine for contempt of court
Criminal Behaviour Order

Police Power only

   
Direction Powers

Police Power only

   
Community Protection Warning (CPW) & Community Protection Notices (CPN)

An authorised person may issue a CPW and a CPN to an individual aged 16 or over, or a body, if satisfied on reasonable grounds that:

  • The conduct of the individual or the body is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality, and
  • The conduct is unreasonable
 

A CPW or a CPN can impose any of the following requirements on the individual or body issued with it:

  • A requirement to stop doing things;
  • A requirement to do specified things;
  • A requirement to take reasonable steps to achieve specified results

The only requirements that may be imposed are ones that are reasonable to impose:

  • To prevent the detrimental effect from continuing or recurring, or
  • To reduce the detrimental effect or to reduce the risk of it continuance or recurrence
 

A person or a body who fails to comply commits an offence, which can result in fine.

 

Alternatively, a fixed penalty notice can be issued.

 

Remedial Action

When a person fails to comply with a Notice, the local authority:

  • Have work carried out to remedy the failure on land open to the air, or;
  • Issue a default notice specifying the work it intends to carry out and estimated cost
A court before which a person is convicted of an offence of failing to comply with a CPN may make whatever order the court thinks fit for ensuring that what the notice requires to be done is done.
Public Spaces Protection Orders

Local Authority may make a PSPO if satisfied on reasonable grounds that two conditions are met.

The first condition is that:

  • Activities carried on in a public place within the council area have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, or
  • It is likely that activities will be carried on in a public place within that area and that they will have such an effect.

The second condition is that the effect, or likely effect, of the activities

  • Is, or is likely to be, of a persistent or continuing nature,
  • Is, or is likely to be, such as to make the activities unreasonable, and
  • Justifies the restrictions imposed by the notice.
 

A PSPO can

  • Prohibit specified things being done in a defined area,
  • Requires specified things to be done by persons carrying on specified activities in that area.
  • does both of those things.

The only prohibitions or requirements that may be imposed are ones that are reasonable to impose:

  • to prevent the detrimental effect from continuing, occurring or recurring, or
  • to reduce the detrimental effect or to reduce the risk of its continuance, occurrence or recurrence.

A prohibition or requirement may be framed to apply to all persons, or at all times, or in all circumstances; to only specific categories of person, times, or circumstances; or to all persons, times, circumstances except those specified.

 

It is an offence for a person without reasonable excuse:

  • to do anything that the person is prohibited from doing by a PSPO, or
  • to fail to comply with a requirement to which the person is subject under a PSPO.

A person guilty of an offence on summary conviction is liable to a fine; alternatively, a fixed penalty notice can be issued.

If a person consumes alcohol in breach of a PSPO then a constable or authorised person may require the individual to:

  • not consume alcohol
  • surrender any alcohol or containers for alcohol

A person guilty of an offence on summary conviction is liable to a fine; alternatively, a fixed penalty notice can be issued.

Closure Power

Closure Notices

A designated officer from the District Council or a police officer of at least the rank of inspector; may issue closure notice if satisfied on reasonable grounds:

  • that the use of particular premises has resulted, or (if the notice is not issued) is likely soon to result, in a nuisance to members of the public, or
  • that there has been or is likely soon to be, disorder near those premises associated with the use of those premises.

and that the notice is necessary to prevent nuisance or disorder from continuing, recurring or occurring.

 

A closure order may prohibit access for a period not exceeding three months:

By all persons, or by all persons except those specified, or by all persons except those of a specified description;

  • At all times, or at all times except those specified;
  • In all circumstance, or in all circumstance except those specified.

An order may be made in respect of the whole or any part of the premises; and may include provision about access to a part of the building or structure of which the premises form part.

 A person who without reasonable excuse remains on or enters premise in contravention of a closure order commits an offence, which on summary conviction can result in imprisonment not exceeding 51 weeks, to a fine, or to both.

Recovery of Possession of Dwelling Houses

The court must make an order for possession if one of the listed conditions are met:

  • Conviction of a serious offence linked to the dwelling house
  • Breach of an injunction issued under the act linked to the dwelling house,
  • Breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order linked to the dwelling house
  • Where the dwelling house has been the subject to a closure order
  • Breach of a noise abatement notice related to the dwelling house

The court must not proceed with an order unless the landlord has served on the notice on the tenant stating that the court will be asked to make an order.

 If the court is satisfied that one of a number of listed conditions are met then it must make an order for the possession of a dwelling house let under a secure tenancy  The tenant must vacate the property

Evidence

If there is a likelihood that a case may go to court the investigating officer will need to gather good quality evidence. Officers will record the time, date and the place from whom the evidence was collected

Witness statements can be taken from any person over the age of 10 years, but for anyone under 19 or with a mental or physical impairment an appropriate representative must be present.

 

Witness Statement Procedure

Scene Setting
  • Where
  • When
  • Who
  • Witness's background
Place the Witnesses Whereabouts of the people involved at the time of the incident
Action Describe what happened in as much detail as possible
Descriptions Get a physical description of the perpetrators, even if the witness knows them 
Legal Team Check

Confirm with the council’s legal team that the statement is fit for purpose. Consider video statement with consent from victim.

Verification

Witness signs statement as true and accurate record

Make a record

The witness is given a copy of the statement either paper or DVD. The original is put in the file

 

ASB in the wider community

This type of ASB in the wider community will often have a housing related element (perhaps involving registered social landlords, privately rented or owner occupiers) but it frequently involves non-housing issues. Good examples of these are public space issues street drinking and public rowdiness.

With regard to our ASB Procedures, it is important for officers to be aware that the council does have a wider duty to deal with ASB in the community, either on its own or in partnership with other agencies as a member of Bassetlaw, Newark & Sherwood Community Safety Partnership. This duty derives mainly from the Crime & Disorder Act, 1998.

 

Victims, witnesses and others

In serious cases, especially those that end up in court, the investigating officer will always compile a “witness impact statement” detailing the effects of the perpetrators behaviour on the witness’s life. This should be written to a standard that will allow it to be used as evidence in court.

We are currently reviewing with our legal team the option of preparing this interview in DVD form, to further highlight the impact and convey it to the court in a more meaningful way. This of course would only be carried out with the consent of the witness.

Officer will always advise complainants of the final outcome of cases and of any measures aimed at preventing problems from recurring. They will also reassess the complainant/victim to ensure that the risk has reduced. They will also ask for a customer survey to be completed on closure.

 

Logging concerns for children, young people or vulnerable adults

In the course of an investigation an officer may come across a person whose welfare may raise concerns. They may have no direct connection to the case under investigation, but it remains a duty for officers to ensure that these are properly logged and passed to the MASH (Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub) on all occasions.

This should be done timeously and no later than the next working day.


Last Updated on Thursday, November 19, 2020