Commencement of New ASB Tools - 20 October 2014

Article

23 July, 2014

Following commencement of the new discretionary grounds for possession in May, the Home Office has confirmed that the remainder of the ASB Powers which were introduced by the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 ('the Act') will come into force on 20 October 2014.

At Forbes Solicitors, we welcome the new powers which we hope will provide our clients with swifter, more cost effective solutions to deal with ASB.
The new tools which are most likely to benefit our clients can be summarised as follows:-

Civil Injunction

Available to a variety of organisations including the police, local authorities and social landlords
Like the existing ASBI, these injunctions will contain prohibitions to prevent anti-social behaviour
Unlike the existing ASBI, these injunctions can also contain positive requirements. This is likely to be a welcome change compelling perpetrators to address the underlying causes of their ASB. This may include drug and alcohol awareness, anger management or working with support services such as mental health.
Unlike the existing ASBI, the new injunctions are available against anyone age 10 or over.
Applications against children will be made in the youth section of the Magistrates court. The Youth Offending Team must be consulted unless the application is made on an ex parte basis.

Absolute Ground for Possession

Can be used by social landlords and private sector landlords.
If the tenant, a member of their household or a visitor to the Property has met one of the following 5 conditions, the court must make an order for possession:-

1) Conviction for serious criminal offence
2) Proven breach of an injunction
3) Proven breach of a Criminal Behaviour Order
4) Convictions for breaching a Noise Abatement Notice
5) The Property has been closed under a 'Closure Order' for 48 hours or more

Although the court has no discretion and cannot consider 'reasonableness' - 'proportionality' can be considered - but only if the tenant raises this as a defence

Other Powers

Powers available to the police and other agencies are summarised below:-

Criminal Behaviour Order

These can be requested by the CPS when a Defendant is convicted of a criminal offence. The CBO will prohibit anti-social behaviour but may also contain positive requirements to compel the offender to address the cause of their behaviour.

Dispersal Power

This power can be used by the police and requires a person committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour to leave an area for up to 48 hours.

Community Protection Notice

These can be issued by the police, local councillors and even social landlords (where designated by the council). The CPN is a written warning and aims to stop a person aged 16 or over, business or organisation, from committing anti social behaviour which spoils the community's quality of life.

Public Spaces Protection Order

These can be issued by councils after consultation with the police and other relevant bodies. They are designed to stop individuals or groups from committing anti-social behaviour in a public space.

Closure Power

These can be applied for by the council or the police and will allow them to quickly close a premises which is being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder.

The government has issued new statutory guidance for frontline professionals such as the police, local councils and social landlords, to help those professionals understand the new powers. The statutory guidance was published earlier this week on GOV.UK and can be found by using the following link:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/332839/StatutoryGuidanceFrontline.pdf

Our Current Work with Social Landlords

We are working with our existing clients to deliver training in relation to the new ASB Powers.
We are advising our clients to speak to partner agencies as a matter of urgency as a multi agency approach will be crucial to the success of the new powers. Consequently, it is vital that the relevant links are established now to avoid problems when the powers come into force.

If you have any questions relating to this article, or require assistance or training, please contact Bethany Paliga or Shirley Faragher on 01772 220022.

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