ASB Awareness Week – 19th – 25th July 2021

This week is ASB Awareness Week, but what is ASB and what measures can be used to tackle it?

ASB, or Anti-Social Behaviour to use its full title is legally defined within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 as: –

  • Conduct that has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress to any person.
  • Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises or
  • Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.

In practical terms, ASB is frequently used to describe a wide range of behaviours that can include (but not limited to) threatening behaviour, loud music, car cruising, the selling or using of drugs, violence and criminal damage. However, what constitutes ASB is extremely subjective and whilst examples of behaviour can be provided, what you may consider to be anti-social behaviour another person may not.

If it isn’t managed effectively, low level ASB can quickly develop into more serious and deep-rooted issues. It is essential that a host of partnership agencies including the police and Local Authority work together to address the root-causes and reduce the impact upon victims and wider communities.

Colmore BID’s Security Team works closely with the Local Authority, local policing team and  a range of support agencies to react quickly to and manage any reports of ASB within the Colmore Business District.

Reports of ASB are usually case managed by either the local policing team and/or the Local Authority’s ASB Team. When people are reporting frequent and persistent ASB it can feel that at times, no one is listening or taking any action. This is when a Community Trigger may help.

If you (or others) have reported an incident 3 or more times within a 6 month period you can activate the Community Trigger (also known as ASB Case Review) through your Local Authority.  This has been designed to give the victim the right to demand that agencies deal with persistent anti-social behaviour.

The trigger introduces a right for victims, or victims’ representatives, to ask local agencies to review how they have responded to previous ASB complaints and consider what further action might be taken where the behaviour persists. To learn more about the Birmingham Local Authority Community Trigger process, click here.

There are various options available for resolving ASB, ranging from non-legal actions to legally enforceable action. Below is a summary of the options considered:

Mediation – Normally the first thing considered when dealing with low-level antisocial behaviour. Mediation helps the person behind the antisocial behaviour to understand the victim’s feelings. An independent mediator guides the discussion towards finding a way forward that does not cause the victim distress. Mediation is often the best way to deal with neighbourhood ASB caused by a “clash of lifestyles”. To learn more about mediation click here.

Restorative justice – Brings together people harmed by crime or ASB with those responsible for the harm, to find a positive way forward. Restorative justice gives victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their behaviour, get answers to their questions and get an apology. Restorative justice holds offenders to account for what they have done. It helps them understand the real impact, take responsibility, and make amends.

It has proven to be highly successful with over 80% of people involved being satisfied with the outcome of their case. To learn more about the Restorative Justice approach in Birmingham, click here.

Think family – Provides services that meet the needs of your whole family, rather than supporting one person separately if your family has one or more of these problems:

  • an adult is out of work
  • there are concerns about a child’s school attendance
  • a young person is not in education, training or work
  • a family member has been in trouble within the neighbourhood or with the Police
  • a family member has physical or emotional health problems
  • you are having problems that are stopping you from bringing up your children as well as you could (such as housing, relationship or money worries).

To learn more about the Think Family services, click here.

Legal action – There are a number of nonlegal remedies and legal actions for dealing with someone who behaves antisocially (ASB):

  • They could be given a Community Protection Notice (CPN) which prevents them from carrying out specific acts of antisocial behaviour. For example, the CPN may say they can’t play loud music at night. The CPN can include requirements to ensure that the problems are rectified. If someone breaches a CPN, it is a crime.
  • If anti-social behaviour is experienced in a particular geographical location with public access the Local Authority may look to put in place a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).  This will include a set of prohibitions that individuals or groups must abide by when they are in this location.  If someone breaches any of these prohibitions, this is also a criminal offence. A PSPO proposal for Birmingham City centre is currently under consultation.
  • They could be given a Civil Injunction. This prevents them from carrying out specific acts of antisocial behaviour or compels them to do something, such as positive requirements for example, attending an alcohol rehabilitation course. Breaching an injunction can result in the person going to prison.
  • If a household or business is being used for criminal purposes or sustained acts of ASB the Local Authority, police or both may look to apply for a Premises Closure Order.  This means everyone inside the building can be removed and the building will be secured by way of Citex (metal shutters) for a period of up to 6 months. 
  • If they are a Local Authority tenant and their behaviour has breached their conditions of tenancy or they have committed an indictable criminal offence, the Local Authority will consider possession proceedings/ absolute power of possession.

To learn more about the legal options considered within the Birmingham Local Authority area, click here.

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