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Anti-social Behaviour – The Government’s Proposals

Published Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Government has consulted on reforming powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, and will be introducing draft legislation. This note discusses the proposals.

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The Government set out its proposals to reform the powers which police, local authorities and others have to deal with anti-social behaviour in a February 2011 consultation document More effective responses to anti-social behaviour. The consultation process ran until 17 May 2011. Whilst it was the abolition of Anti Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) which received the most publicity, the proposals would replace a range of disposals with a smaller number of new tools, which the Government called “a radical streamlining of the toolkit”. Following the consultation, the Government published a White Paper, Putting Victims First: More effective responses to anti-social behaviour, on 22 May 2012.

Under the White Paper’s proposals, 19 tools would be reduced to six.

ASBOs and some other court orders would be abolished and replaced by two new tools:

• the Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) which could be attached to a criminal conviction

• the Crime Prevention Injunction (CPI) for other cases.

Unlike ASBOs, both these orders could have positive requirements as well as prohibitions attached to them. The CPI would use the same test as the current anti-social behaviour injunction – that is that, on the balance of probabilities, the person has engaged in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance – which is a less demanding test that the current equivalent for ASBOs. As is the case with ASBOs, breach of a CBO would be a criminal offence with a maximum prison sentence of five years. Breach of a CPI would be punished as contempt of court. The maximum penalty for contempt is normally two years in prison or an unlimited fine. It would not be a criminal offence and thus would not result in a criminal record.

New Community Protection Orders would replace a range of other orders which deal with powers to deal with environmental anti-social behaviour, anti-social behaviour in specific public places and various premises closure powers. Legislation will be introduced in the form of a draft Bill and will be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny.

Commons Briefing papers SN06344

Author: Pat Strickland

Topic: Anti-social behaviour

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