House of Commons Library

Constituency Casework: Anti-Social Behaviour

Published Friday, June 29, 2018

Get help with constituency casework: Anti-Social Behaviour. A briefing to assist MPs and their staff in dealing with enquiries from constituents regarding anti-social behaviour.

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Concerns regarding anti-social behaviour are a regular cause of complaint by constituents to Members of Parliament. There are wide ranging civil and criminal powers which exist to combat anti-social behaviour and prevent future problems from occurring, but it is not always clear to whom a constituent should report concerns regarding anti-social behaviour or what the outcome will be.

Changes in the law

The Coalition Government introduced major changes to the law in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

This Act replaced the well-known ASBO (Anti-social Behaviour Order, introduced in 1998) and the Criminal Anti-social Behaviour Order, with a civil injunction – the Injunction to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNA) – and a post-conviction court order (the Criminal Behaviour Order or CBO).

In an attempt to streamline the powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour, the Government introduced six new powers, replacing 19.

Detailed guidance on the various tools is provided in the Home Office’s statutory guidance which was updated in December 2017.

The law across the UK

This note deals with the legislation in England and Wales. Parts I – VI of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (which deal with anti-social behaviour) apply to England and Wales only.

However, generally across the UK dealing with anti-social behaviour is the remit of the police, local authorities and housing providers and should be reported to them in the first instance.

In Scotland, the Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 remains in force and covers police and agency powers in relation to anti-social behaviour. Further advice on anti-social behaviour in Scotland can be found from the GOV.SCOT website.

In Northern Ireland the equivalent legislation is the Anti-social Behaviour (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 as amended. Advice on anti-social behaviour for people living in Northern Ireland is available on the NI Direct webpages.

Getting Help with Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide range of activity, sometimes of a criminal nature, which causes alarm or distress to an individual and impacts their community or their environment. Incidents of anti-social behaviour can include actions by others which leave someone harassed or distressed, foster a fear of crime or concern for public safety, or create disorder or public nuisance.

  • Some examples of anti-social behaviour include
  • Nuisance, rowdy or inconsiderate neighbours
  • Vandalism or graffiti 
  • Street drinking
  • Littering, fly tipping, dumping or abandoned vehicles
  • Prostitution
  • Street-level drug dealing or drug use
  • Fireworks misuse
  • Begging

Incidents of anti-social behaviour or other community safety issues should be reported to the relevant local authority or police. For more information see

If the dispute is with a neighbour, there is advice on the GOV.UK website, Resolving neighbour disputes.

Noise nuisances can be reported to the local council online via the Government portal: Report a noise nuisance to your council, and dog fouling at: Report a dog fouling problem

Reporting Anti-Social Behaviour to the Police

To contact your local police force in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, you can call the police non-emergency number 101.

If it is an emergency, if you or somebody else is in immediate danger, or the crime is in progress, always call 999.

Report crime anonymously via Crimestoppers, tel. 0800 555 111.

Citizens Advice

Information on getting help with problems in your local area may be found on the Citizens Advice webpages:

England and Wales: Problems where you live

Scotland: Problems where you live

Northern Ireland: Problems where you live

Further papers from the House of Commons Library

Commons Library Briefing Papers on Anti-social Behaviour can be accessed from the Research Briefings search page of the Parliament website.

Housing related anti-social behaviour in England is covered in two separate Commons Library Briefing Papers:

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7270

Author: Pat Strickland

Topics: Anti-social behaviour, Crime, Criminal law

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