Anti-social behaviour in Purbeck
Purbeck District Council provides an anti-social behaviour (ASB) service for residents in the district. The team is made up of 1 part-time anti-social behaviour officer and 1 part-time community safety officer and are based within Public Health and Housing at Purbeck District Councils offices in Wareham. The usual types of complaints of anti social behaviour the team deals with include:
- alcohol misuse
- drugs misuse
- intimidation and harassment
- youth nuisance
- vehicle nuisance
The team has a range of enforcement powers held under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 to deal with offenders of ASB, as well as providing a supporting role for victims of anti social behaviour and advise on dealing with ASB.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO’s)
PSPOs were introduced in October 2014 by the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. They are designed to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area (a public space) that is detrimental to the local community's quality of life, by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone.
A PSPO can cover multiple restrictions, so one order can prohibit several activities such as the drinking of alcohol and dog fouling. Enforcement will be undertaken by council officers, with the support of police officers.
If anyone breaches the requirements of the PSPO, or fails to comply with a request from an Authorised Council Officer or Police Officer to cease activity, they would be committing a criminal offence and could be issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75 or be prosecuted.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO’s) – There are currently no active PSPO’s in Purbeck.
What can be done to stop anti-social behaviour?
This information is designed to explain some of the most common legal remedies and other interventions available to the Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction Officer and partner agencies, landlords and residents in regard to acts of anti-social behaviour. Not all complaints about acts of anti social behaviour go as far as the courts; many are solved by talking through the problem with perpetrators or by the intervention of another agency.
Only the most persistent and severe cases go to court, these taking a lot of time, effort and money. Sometimes even a court order will not end the problem; the final resort may be the loss of a person's home or liberty. So what are some of the interventions and legal remedies available to us and others?
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC)
An ABC is a written contract between an individual who has been involved in anti-social behaviour and the council, police or social landlord. ABCs are most commonly used for young people, but they may also be used for adults, and will contain a list of prohibitions agreed to prevent future acts. ABCs have no force in law and are totally voluntary.
Injunctions are civil applications designed to protect communities from behaviour that causes harassment, alarm or distress. Injunctions are awarded by a Magistrates' Court and are applied for by the Police, Local Authority or Social Landlords.
Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO)
CBO's are awarded by either the Magistrates' or Crown Courts. Applications may be made by the Police or Local Authority on the back of a criminal conviction. The minimum duration is two years. The maximum period is unlimited.
A CBO can restrict a person from being in a specific area; associating with named persons; and, being on the streets during certain times of the day and night.
If the prohibitions of the CBO are broken, this will be deemed to be a breach of the Order. The person will then appear before the Courts and if found guilty of a breach, this is a criminal offence. A person may then be sentenced to a period or between six months and five years in prison; or, a fine; or, both.
How we stop young people committing ASB at an early stage
Purbeck Community Safety Team and Purbeck Neighbourhood Policing Team operate a Juvenile Referral Scheme, where incidents of anti-social behaviour involving young people are addressed before the level of unacceptable behaviour is considered that further action is required.
The Community Safety Team and Dorset Police deal positively with incidents of anti-social behaviour and with the current juvenile referral scheme the Council and Dorset Police want to highlight any incidents of anti-social behaviour to parents of the young people they speak to.
The Juvenile Referral Scheme is a progressive system. If a juvenile comes to the Police notice for their behaviour, amounting to unacceptable behaviour, a letter is sent to the young person, and the parents/guardians. The child’s details are kept on a juvenile register for six months. The parents/guardians, are informed of the circumstances so that the parents are able to address with their child.
If the young person comes to the attention on another occasion, further letters will be sent with a home visit by the Sergeant from the Neighbourhood Policing Team. If the young person still behaves in an anti-social manner, a multi agency meeting will be called to discuss a way forward to stop the behaviour.
This process has proved extremely positive and has stopped young people from committing anti-social behaviour from as early as the first letter.
What you can to do stop anti-social behaviour
Have you spoken to the person causing you distress? Often this person may not realise the effect they are having on your enjoyment of your home or neighbourhood. The first step is to speak to them and explain how their behaviour is impacting on your life. If you are speaking to someone:
- keep calm and do not raise your voice even if they do
- define your problem and suggest workable solution
- allow the other party to respond and put their point of view
- agree a course of action and review its progress
- do not make unfounded allegations
- do not make threats or swear and do not retaliate
Please note: You should not speak to someone who you believe to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or mentally unstable. Do not approach a gang of people of any age call the police if their behaviour warrants it. If the problems persist contact the council offices, ideally in writing, and we will try to help or offer you the appropriate advice.
Who else can help?
Dorset Police Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT)
Spectrum and Sovereign Housing Association
Stonewater Housing Association