New powers to tackle ASB – Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

On 20 October 2014, parts two to six of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 will come into effect.

They will streamline the powers available to deal with anti-social behaviour by reducing them from 19 powers to six. These are more flexible and will enable the police, local authorities and others to respond quickly and effectively to anti-social behaviour.

The Act puts the victims first, gives more power to local people and enables professionals to find the best solutions for their local area.

Pubwatch members will probably be most interested in the fact that Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBO’s) and Drink Banning Orders (DBO’s) will no longer exist. They will be replaced by Civil Injunctions. An application for a Civil Injunction has to be made to a County Court and if successful could prohibit a person from engaging in anything prescribed in the order, such as not being out and about at certain times of day, not entering certain premises etc.

A breach of a Civil Injunction is not a criminal offence and is punishable as contempt of court, but an adult who is found guilty could receive up to 2 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

If an offender has been convicted of a criminal offence, the prosecutor (usually the Crown Prosecution Service) can apply for a Criminal Behaviour Order. The court will grant a Criminal Behaviour Order if satisfied that the person has engaged in behaviour that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person. It could require that the person positively undertake a course of action to address the issue such as anger management sessions, receive treatment for drugs or alcohol problems etc or as with the Civil Injunction prohibit the person from doing anything described in the order.

The offender will commit an offence if they fail to comply with the Criminal Behaviour Order and on conviction on indictment could receive up to 5 years imprisonment and/or a fine.