Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that make many people's lives a misery - from damage to property, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours.
There are many different types of ASB and only some of them are legally defined as criminal, but they can all damage the quality of life of individuals, families and communities.
Such a wide range of behaviours means that responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour is shared between a number of agencies, particularly the police, councils and social landlords.
Anti-social behaviour can happen at any time, but it does increase during the summer when the nights are longer. There is also a rise in anti-social behaviour during major events like Bonfire Night and Halloween.
The impact of anti-social behaviour
The impact of anti-social behaviour is different for every individual who experiences it. ASB can be very frustrating and upsetting. For some people it can be an isolated experience, but for others it can last a long time, potentially even months or years. In some cases, anti-social behaviour can escalate and become increasingly serious or the effect of living with anti-social behaviour, even low-level incidents, can take its toll over a long time.
In some cases, anti-social behaviour can seriously affect an individual's peace of mind and quality of life and result them in altering the way they live to try and avoid incidents or the people who are involved. This can include staying indoors, taking a different route when they go out, avoiding certain areas or places or even trying to move house.
All of this can cause people affected by anti-social behaviour to feel anxious, stressed, nervous or scared. These are all normal feelings and there is help available.
Anti-social behaviour powers
Anti-social behaviour powers came into force on October 20th, 2014, which shape the way the police, local authorities, health partners and social housing providers respond to anti-social behaviour.
The reforms are designed to empower victims of ASB and give them a say on how perpetrators are punished.
Of particular significance were new powers for victims of ASB and hate crime to demand action if they are unsatisfied with how their case is handled, beginning with a case review, known as the Community Trigger.
These powers also saw the introduction of a Community Remedy list which provides victims with a list of punishments from which they can chose. Find out more at the Community Remedy.
Where can I get help or further information?
The best thing to do is keep a note of when and where these incidents are happening, making sure you include any descriptions of people or vehicles involved. It can also be helpful to take a photo or video of any incidences which occur, but be sure not to put yourself in any danger.
You should also keep hold of any evidence that may help to prove what you have been going through. This could be an offensive letter or a threatening voice mail.
Both local authorities and the police can help to deal with anti-social behaviour, depending on the severity. If you believe you are in danger, you should always call the police.
Your local council deals with:
- Noisy and rowdy neighbours
- Littering, including drug related litter
- Vehicles abandoned on the road
- General graffiti and vandalism
- Uncontrolled pets
- Abandoned vehicles
The police deal with:
- Damage to property and graffiti
- Vandalism that is linked to threatening and / or offensive behaviour
- Rowdy threatening or drunken behaviour
- Buying drugs on the street
- Setting fires
- Inconsiderate use of vehicles and off road motor bikes
If you are being affected by any of the antisocial behaviour above and feel there is an immediate risk then you should call 999 straight away.
If this is a continual issue and there is no immediate risk please call 101, contact the police online or visit your local police station.
You can also go to national charity ASB Help for free help and advice. This website provides information and tips in dealing with issues surrounding ASB.
The 'How to tackle anti-social behaviour' leaflet from the DirectGov website explains where you can get help to tackle anti-social behaviour and how you can help solve anti-social behaviour problems in your neighbourhood.
Measures that can be used by the police and other agencies include:
warning letters and interviews, contracts and agreements
fixed penalty notices and penalty notices for disorder
parenting orders, individual support orders, noise abatement notices, injunctions, dispersal powers and anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)
'crack house' closure orders
possession proceedings against a tenant.
How do I report ASB?
Your council's website will provide further advice on anti-social behaviour and how to report it:
You can also contact your registered social housing provider.
Alternatively call Merseyside Police on 101 or dial 999 in an Emergency.