How can anti-social behaviour and nuisance complaints be resolved?
The Council, Police and Six Town Housing have a range of legal powers and measures available to challenge unacceptable behaviour and bring about positive changes. These include:
An expert service that helps people in dispute with their neighbours. Typical problems that can be solved by mediation include noise, pets, children and lifestyle differences. Expert mediators listen to all points of view without taking sides and help people reach a solution.
These involve inviting an individual and their parents if applicable to a local police station with representatives from the Anti-Social Behaviour Team, Youth Offending Service and any other agencies who are involved to address their anti-social Behaviour and warn them of the consequences of continuing this behaviour.
Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs)
A voluntary agreement between an individual who has been behaving disruptively, their housing provider, the Council and Police. Parent(s) should also be involved if it is a young person. If the individual breaks the ABC, it can be used as evidence in applying for a legal order such as an Injunction. Support e.g. from the Youth Offending Team or Alcohol Services will be available to help the person keep to the ABC.
When dealing with anti-social behaviour the needs of the wider community will always be our primary concern. Therefore where people persist in causing nuisance in spite of these measures or in serious cases where there are threats or violence, we will take enforcement action against the perpetrator.
Several agencies including the Police, Council and Housing Providers can apply to the court for an Injunction to place restrictions or requirements on people over the age of 10 who behave in an anti-social manner based on the behaviour which has caused harassment, alarm or distress to others. The restrictions range from not using foul language, threatening or violent behaviour to excluding individuals from visiting certain areas or associating in public with certain people. Positive requirements could include attending drug or alcohol support sessions. Injunctions do not themselves give someone a criminal record. However if individuals break, or breach, the conditions they can be punished by the Court and in extreme cases for those over 14 be sent to prison.
Criminal Behaviour Order
This is granted at the same time someone is sentenced for a criminal offence and contains restrictions or requirements relevant to the person's offences. It does not form part of the sentence but is a separate order. Breaching the order is a criminal offence and can result in a prison sentence. They are available for anyone over the age of 10.
Actions and legal measures under Tenancy Agreement
These include interviewing and warning the perpetrator that they are breaking their Tenancy Agreement, Introductory and Demoted Tenancies. These can escalate to Undertakings, Injunctions and Possession Orders.
Stop and Account
These are used by Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers to log the name and address of people behaving in an anti-social way. They can be followed up with visits home or warnings as appropriate.
Parenting contract and Parenting Order
This is an agreement negotiated between a parent / carer where a young person is engaged in anti-social behaviour. The parent agrees to fulfil certain requirements and the Youth Offending Service agrees to support the parent so that they can comply with the requirements.
An Order is made by the court when the young person is convicted of an offence. The Order lasts for up to 12 months and includes a requirement to attend a counselling and guidance programme for up to 3 months. The Youth Offending Service is often the responsible officer assigned by the court as they are well placed to co-ordinate parenting guidance and counselling.
Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for environmental crime
Environment Enforcement Officers can issues FPNs for those caught dropping litter or for fly-tipping, fly-posting or graffiti. They can also prosecute those who don't pay or are persistent offenders.
Noise Abatement Notice
This can be issued by Environment Enforcement Officers in response to complaints of excessive noise from any premises apart from a council house which are dealt with by Six Town Housing. If the perpetrators continues with the noise nuisance they can be prosecuted or have their equipment seized.
Community Protection Notice (CPN)
A CPN can be issued by the Police, Council and in certain circumstances housing provider if someones conduct is having a persistent, detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. A written warning must always be issued first. It is a flexible tool that can be used for issues such as persistent littering, dog fouling and noisy, drunken behaviour. Breach of a CPN is a criminal offence for which the person can be prosecuted or served with a Fixed Penalty Notice.
Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)
A PSPO is an Order that prohibits or requiries certain activites taking place in a designated public space. Examples include drinking on the street and keeping your dog on a lead. Breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence for which a person can be prosecuted or served with a Fixed Penalty Notice. The Designated Public Places Orders that currently exisit in the town centres within Bury will need to be replaced by PSPOs by 2017.