What is being done about anti-social behaviour?
We act in conjunction with the Safer Swansea Partnership to help tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) throughout the Swansea area.
What powers does the council have to deal with ASB?
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 has provided additional tools to tackle ASB. These include:
- Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC)
- Civil injunctions
- Community Protection Notices (CPN)
- Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)
- Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO)
- Housing injunctions
- Demoted tenancies
- Court orders to deal with specific situations, such as Closure Orders or Parenting Orders.
In addition to:
- Environmental Protection Act 1990
- Court Orders for Possession
Please remember that any cases to be brought before a court will require a high standard of evidence for the matter to be successful.
The injunction under part 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is a civil power that can be applied for to deal with anti-social individuals. The injunction can offer fast and effective protection for victims and communities and set a clear standard of behaviour for perpetrators, stopping the person's behaviour from escalating.
For anti-social behaviour in a non-housing related context the test is conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person. This will apply, for example, where the anti-social behaviour has occurred in a public place, such as a town or city centre, shopping mall, or local park, and where the behaviour does not affect the housing management functions of a social landlord or people in their homes.
A court may grant the injunction against anyone who is 10 years of age or over. Applications against individuals who are 18 years of age or over must be made in the county court or High Court, whilst applications against individuals who are under 18 years of age must be made in the youth court.
The injunction can be used to deal with a wide range of behaviours, many of which can cause serious harm to victims and communities in both housing-related and non-housing related situations. This can include vandalism, public drunkenness, aggressive begging, irresponsible dog ownership, noisy or abusive behaviour towards neighbours, or bullying.
The community protection notice (CPN) is intended to deal with particular, ongoing problems or nuisances which negatively affect the community's quality of life by targeting those responsible. A CPN can be issued by the police or the local authority against any person aged 16 or over or a body, including a business.
Public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) are intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local community's qualify of life, by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone. They are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
A PSPO can be made by the council if they are satisfied on reasonable grounds that the activities carried out, or likely to be carried out, in a public space:
- have had, or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality;
- is, or is likely to be, persistent or continuing in nature;
- is, or is likely to be, unreasonable; and
- justifies the restrictions imposed.
The council can make a PSPO on any public space within its own area. The definition of public space is wide and includes any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission, for example a shopping centre.
Before making a PSPO, the council would carry out a consultation with the local police and whatever community representatives they think appropriate. This could relate to a specific group, for instance the residents association, or an individual or group of individuals, for instance, regular users of a park or specific activities such as busking or other types of street entertainment. Before the PSPO is made, the council will publish the draft order in accordance with regulations published by the Secretary of State.
A PSPO is designed to make public spaces more welcoming to the majority of law-abiding people and communities and not simply restrict access. Restrictions or requirements can be targeted at specific people, designed to apply only at certain times or apply only in certain circumstances. The maximum duration of a PSPO is three years but they can last for shorter periods of time where appropriate.
At any point before expiry, the council can extend a PSPO by up to three years if we consider that it is necessary to prevent the original behaviour from occurring or recurring.
The Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) is available on conviction for any criminal offence in any criminal court. The order is aimed at tackling the most serious and persistent offenders where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court.
The prosecution, usually the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), but in some cases it could be a local council, may apply for the CBO after the offender has been convicted of a criminal offence.
Landlord's conditions of tenancy
Housing Services is determined to ensure that residents on our estates are able to enjoy a quality of life without suffering at the hands of the minority who act is an anti social manner.
The housing service will seek to combat anti-social behaviour through the use of traditional landlord powers of enforcing tenancy conditions through warning letters, notices seeking possession and court orders for possession together with the remedies that have introduced through recent legislation such as housing injunctions.
The Safer Swansea partnership ASB procedures
The housing service also plays a proactive role in the Safer Swansea Partnership which is made up from agencies who work together to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in Swansea.
The Safer Swansea partnership was formed as a result of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which placed a statutory responsibility jointly on the council and the police to form a local crime and disorder reduction partnership. The new duty has been designed to encourage local communities to not only identify local problems but to become actively involved in devising solutions. The police organise PACT meetings (Partnership and Communities Together) which may be attended by housing officers in your local area. These meetings are advertised locally and allow residents to voice their concerns about issues that concern them, including ASB.
Partner agencies, including housing and the police may refer investigated incidents to the partnership's ASB team. The ASB team have a 4 step plan for dealing with those people who have been behaving in an anti-social manner.
The 4 step plan
- Step one involves a warning letter being sent out, and calling on the person to stop the behaviour.
- Step two will be taken if the problem persists and will include a follow-up letter and a home visit by members of the ASB team. This visit will aim to identify and address problems - such as difficulties within the family or at school - which may underlie the behaviour.
- Step three will occur if a third referral is received and the individual has not engaged with the process. A case conference drawing together all the relevant agencies is called to work with the individual to try to find a way forward. This may result in an acceptable behaviour contract being drawn up, which the individual will be required to sign, along with parents if necessary.
- Step four may be an approach to the magistrates' court for a civil injunction.
Generally a complaint of ASB will not usually result in an injunction as preventative methods are always attempted and an injunction will only be issued as a last resort in the most serious and persistent of cases.
Anti-social behaviour injunctions
Apart from injunctions, the magistrates are able to grant a variety of orders to tackle a wide range of problems. In conjunction with using legal powers, the Safer Swansea Partnership will also work with young people to provide activities that encourage positive behaviour.