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Antisocial behaviour


Answer

It is possible that this type of behaviour may constitute harassment ,see the related questions in Related Information. However, it would probably be best if you first made contact with your local neighbourhood policing team who may be aware of other incidents and know the identity of the youths involved (if you don't). Police Community Support Officers are a valuable source of information.

The officers may be able to consider applying for civil injunctions or Criminal Behaviour Orders if the same youths are persistently causing a community problem with these types of nuisance activities. These types of problems ,may not be solved straight away though, a lot of enquiries, research and observations may be required by both officers and members of the community in order to combat this anti-social behaviour.


Answer

No, by agreeing to have a Penalty Notice for Disorder (PND) and paying the fine you will not receive a criminal conviction. Accepting and paying the fine is not an admission of guilt but discharges the possibility of the creation of a criminal record.

The fact that you have been given a PND will be recorded on the Police National Computer but it will not create a criminal record. The information is recorded for administrative purposes and also to establish if a person has had more than one PND.

If a criminal records check is carried out it does not automatically mean that the PND would be disclosed. However it could be referred to if the behaviour that led to the PND was linked with the reason for the check.


Answer

It is important for the police to obtain as much information as possible with regards to the details of the car/bike and also the driver/rider and passengers. You do not have to disclose your details to the police when making a report.

It is best to contact the police as soon as the cars/bikes arrive so that the police have a better chance of apprehending those responsible. You can report nuisance motor vehicles to your local police force via their 101 non-emergency number.


Answer

If possible, in the first instance, we would suggest that efforts are made to speak with the children/parents of the children involved as it may be that they do not realise what is happening or that their actions are illegal. If this is not possible, then this behaviour can be reported to the police because it is an offence for anyone to throw, cast, fire or set fire to a firework in the highway, street, thoroughfare, or public place unless it is as part of an organised event by licensed professionals.

Additionally, it is an offence for a person under 18 to possess what is known as an adult firework; these are fireworks that fall into categories F2, F3 or F4.

Category F2 fireworks are fireworks which present a low hazard and low noise level and which are intended for outdoor use in confined areas.

Category F3 fireworks are fireworks which present a medium hazard, which are intended for outdoor use in large open areas and whose noise level is not harmful to human health.

Category F4 fireworks are fireworks which present a high hazard, which are intended for use only by persons with a specialist knowledge and whose noise level is not harmful to human health.


Answer

If  it is a one off incident then you should contact the police who, if possible, will try to attend and disperse the youths. The police now have powers to confiscate alcohol from youths in a public place, including open and sealed containers (subject to certain conditions).
 
If this is a persistent problem then it could be classed as anti-social behaviour and you should contact your local neighbourhood police officer(s) who will over a period of time collate the necessary evidence against the youths with a view for eventually obtaining civil injunctions or Criminal Behaviour Orders. Unfortunately, this will not happen overnight as the police and local council have to ensure that they have all the necessary evidence. 

As a member of the public you could greatly assist the police by keeping your own diary of the behaviour. Ensuring that you record as much details as possible, including times, dates, types of behaviour, names and/or descriptions.


Answer

A 'car cruise' is a gathering of large numbers of car enthusiasts who meet at car parks where 'boy racers' show off their customised vehicles. A minority of these perform dangerous stunts and this coupled with the sheer numbers of people gives rise to causing fear to the public.

Whilst cruising in itself is not illegal, many of the cars involved do commit offences whilst taking part in the cruise, such as speeding, handbrake turns and criminal damage.

Some Police Forces are now treating the meetings as Anti-Social Behaviour and are asking people to leave. Anyone who refuses to leave an area when asked to do so by a Police Officer or Police Community Support Officer, faces arrest.

The police would urge people not to take part and if they do to drive carefully and be mindful of the possible nuisance such events can bring to neighbourhoods.


Answer

You should contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team, via 101, and provide them with as much detail as possible. For example, any details of a youth that are riding or if the youths are riding on a regular basis, if there are any particular times the youths are riding on the street.

Community Support Officers are a valuable source of information and the team may be aware of other incidents or the identity of the youths involved.

The police have a number of powers to deal with the use of such vehicles, these include the seizure of the vehicle under section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Power to seize vehicles driven without a licence or insurance) or section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (seizure of vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance).


Answer

You should contact your local police force via 101 and provide them with as much information as possible. For example, the names of any youths involved, a description or the registration numbers of the vehicles. The earlier you contact the police regarding the incident the more chance the police will have of catching the individuals.

The police have a number of powers to deal with the use of such vehicles these include the seizure of the vehicle under section 165A of the Road Traffic Act 1988 (Power to seize vehicles driven without licence or insurance) or section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 (seizure of vehicles used in manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance).

The cars used also often have no insurance, tax or MOT. If you are aware of where these cars are being left then contact the police so they can be towed away. You can report nuisance motor vehicles to your local police force via their 101 non-emergency number.


Answer

At present legislation only provides the local authority with the power to take action against loud car stereos if the car is on private land or parked on the street. If there is a car/a group of cars that is parked up constantly on your street and the stereos are being played very loud then you need to make a complaint to your local authority.

The police also have powers to deal with cars playing loud music (whilst driving and stationary) although the officers would have to be present and hear the noise before they could take any action.

If it is a one-off occurrence then neither the police nor the local authority will be likely to take any action. If however it is a persistent problem then either contact the local authority or your local police via their 101 number.

See the website in related information to find your local authority.


Answer

Aside from the legal issues it is not safe for children to play on roads. This can also cause a nuisance for lots of people in the area who are wary of driving down the street for fear of knocking over a child or getting their cars damaged.

Putting aside possible traffic or public order issues, it is an offence to play ball games on a public road if it is to the annoyance of road users. It is likely that ball games played on a public road will be to the immediate annoyance of road users.

It is also a breach of by-laws to play ball games to the annoyance of residents. By-laws are created by the local councils and may not apply to every street, there could be some designated as 'play streets' (and similar), where games are allowed, and the by-law may not exist at all in some towns.
If this is a problem in your street, then contact your local neighbourhood policing team who will be able to offer advice and assistance.


Answer

The police have a number of powers to deal with such problems, one of the powers is to seize a vehicle causing alarm, distress or annoyance. The car must be being used in such a way that it commits the offence of driving without due care or driving on footpath, moorland, bridleway etc and that the vehicle is being used anti-socially i.e. it is causing alarm, distress or annoyance. There are other requirements that the police have to carry out before a car can be seized.

It is also an offence to use, cause or permit a motor vehicle to cause excessive noise which could have been avoided by the driver exercising reasonable care. You can report nuisance motor vehicles to your local police force via their 101 non-emergency number or online reporting form. You can also submit dashcam footage to some police forces. Please see Q942 for information.

From a practical point of view, a police officer will usually need to be present to witness the behaviour. It is advisable to contact your local police station as soon as the vehicles start to cause a nuisance.

In many cases the drivers of the vehicles may be committing offences such a careless or dangerous driving. There may also be offences in relation to the use of the vehicle and its condition.


Answer

Playing ball games despite a no ball games sign could be a breach of a local by-law. You would need to contact your local police via their 101 number, please be aware that unfortunately it may not be a high priority matter for the police. You could also try the local council.

See the website in related information to find your local authority.


Answer

Below is a brief overview of the different laws concerning graffiti:

  • Graffiti is an offence of criminal damage and can be reported to your local police force via 101. If prosecuted, the offender could face a fine or even imprisonment.
  • Under 16's are not permitted to buy aerosol paint cans.
  • Local authorities can issue fixed penalty notices for offences of graffiti.
  • Local authorities are responsible for cleaning it up from public buildings and fixtures. They can also clean it from private buildings and can bill the owner for the work.

Some UK Councils provide spaces called 'free walls' for graffiti artists to use for their art. To find where you nearest free walls are, contact your local authority. See the websites in related information to find your local authority.

If you know someone who is causing graffiti call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111


Answer

You should contact the local council for the area where the graffiti or fly posting has taken place.

If the person/organisation is known, then it may be possible for the council to issue penalty notices and a 'defacement removal notice' (in Wales this is a 'graffiti removal notice' and applies only to graffiti).

If it is on council-owned property, or if it is offensive/racially abusive, the council may be responsible for removing it. If not, then the council may be able to advise you who to contact or remove the graffiti at a charge.

See the website in Related Information to find out your local council's details.


Answer

You could be arrested for swearing in the street. There are various offences which can be committed involving the use of threatening abusive words or behaviour. The effect on others and the intention of the person swearing would be some of the factors to consider when deciding whether an offence has been committed.

There is also an offence of using obscene and profane language in the street to the annoyance of residents. However, a person is only likely to be arrested for this offence if the behaviour occurs in the presence of a police officer.


Answer

The NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) has introduced a new helpline service for adults who are concerned about their children in relation to street gangs. The number is 0808 800 5000. The Government has also produced a leaflet giving advice to parents regarding children and street gangs. Please see the links in the Related Information section.


Answer

A Community Protection Notice (CPN) is aimed to prevent unreasonable behaviour that is having a negative impact on the local community's quality of life.
Any person aged 16 years or over can be issued with a notice, whether it is an individual or a business, and it will require the behaviour to stop and if necessary reasonable steps to be taken to ensure it is not repeated in the future.

CPNs replace current measures including litter clearing, defacement removal and street litter control notices. Below are examples of when a CPN may be issued;

  • when a dog is constantly escaping through a broken fence the owner could be issued a CPN requiring that the fence be fixed to avoid further escapes,
  • a notice could be issued to a local shop/supermarket who are allowing litter to be deposited outside the property, or
  • to prevent anti social behaviour such as regularly playing loud music in a public area

Police officers, local authorities and PCSOs can issue CPNs but before doing so they must consider two things; whether the conduct is having a detrimental effect on the community's quality of life and also, whether said conduct is considered unreasonable. The individual must be given a written warning beforehand stating that if the behaviour doesn't cease, the notice will be issued.

The notice can be appealed in the Magistrates' Court within 21 days. Failure to comply is an offence and may result in a fine or a fixed penalty notice.To apply for a CPN or to enquire further, you will need to contact your local policing team. You can do this via the non-emergency 101 number or alternatively by visiting your local force's website.


Answer

A Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO ) focuses on more serious offenders, who engage in criminal activity as well as anti-social behaviour. It can only be issued in conjunction with a sentence that is already imposed or if the individual has a conditional discharge.

The order will either prohibit specified acts or require the offender to participate in specified acts e.g. attendance at a course to reduce behaviour. Before imposing an order the court must be satisfied that the offender has engaged in such behaviour causing harassment/distress and that making the order will encourage the offender to stop said behaviour.

An example of when a CBO may be issued would be where an individual has committed a drug related offence and as part of the order, has to attend a course educating offenders on the effects of substance abuse.

The order will begin from the day it is issued and, for those under 18 years old it will last between 1 and 2 years, being reviewed every 12 months from the day it was made. For adults over 18 the order will last a minimum of 2 years and can last indefinitely. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and as such can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.

For further information we would advise that you contact your local policing team. You can do this via the non-emergency 101 number or alternatively by visiting your local force's website.


Answer

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) propose to deal with a particular nuisance in a particular area that is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life for those in the local community. It can prohibit certain things or require specific things to be done.

An example of when a PSPO may be issued could be to help keep dogs under control within a public place such as a park. It may require that the dog is kept on a lead at all times and/or the dog is only allowed in certain areas. Alternatively, it may prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a specific place.

When deciding whether an order should be issued, the local authority must consider two things:

Firstly whether the behaviour is having a detrimental effect, or is likely to have this effect. Secondly, whether the effect/likely effect of the activities is of a persistent nature making the behaviour unreasonable and rendering the notice justified.

It can be made to apply to all people, or limited only to certain people and can be restricted to specific times. A PSPO can last no longer than 3 years but can be renewed if necessary. Failure to comply with the order can result in a fine or a fixed penalty notice.

For more information please see the link in the related websites section. To apply for a PSPO or to enquire further, you will need to contact your local policing team. You can do this via the non-emergency 101 number or alternatively by visiting your local force's website.


Answer

Anti-Social Behaviour Injunctions (ASBI) are civil injunctions and do not give the individual a criminal record. ASBIs have been introduced as one of the replacements for the ASBO; it can tackle a diverse range of anti-social behaviour problems.

Not only can it prohibit behaviour, it can require the individual to take positive action in dealing with the underlying cause of said behaviour. If positive action is required, the authority must feel this is necessary and appoint an individual/organisation to ensure compliance with this.

An injunction can be given to anyone aged 10 years or above if two conditions are met. Firstly, the court must be satisfied that the individual has engaged/threatens to engage in anti-social behaviour. Secondly, it must be considered convenient and just in order to prevent the behaviour.

Breaching an ASBI is punishable as contempt of court, and for an adult, can lead to imprisonment and/or a fine. For those under 18 years the penalty could either be a supervision order or a detention order being made.

For further information or if you wish to apply for an ASBI you will need to contact your local policing team. You can do this via the non-emergency 101 number or alternatively by visiting your local force's website.


Answer

A dispersal order is used in a wide range of situations in order to offer immediate relief to the community. These powers enable officers and PCSOs to direct a person who has engaged/likely to engage in anti-social behaviour, to leave a specified area and not to return for a period of 48 hours. The 'specified area' cannot include the place where they live/work.

The officer must believe that the behaviour is contributing/likely to contribute to anti-social behaviour and/or crime in the area and as such using the powers would be necessary to reduce crime levels. It may include confiscation of items (e.g. alcohol) and is available to anyone that appears over 10 years of age.

An example of when dispersal powers may be used would be if an individual was consuming alcohol in a town centre and as a result was being verbally abusive to members of the public. Failure to comply is a criminal offence and can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.

For further information on these powers we would advise that you contact your local policing team. You can do this via the non-emergency 101 number or alternatively by visiting your local force's website.


Answer

If a person drives a mechanically propelled vehicle on a road or other public place without due care and attention, or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road or place, he is guilty of an offence. You can report this and any other nuisance motor vehicles directly to your local police force via their 101 number.

You commit the offence of careless driving if your driving falls below the standard of a competent and careful driver. Whether your driving falls below this standard is a matter for a court to decide. In order to commit the offence of inconsiderate driving it has to be shown that your driving has inconvenienced another person. Neither offence makes any allowance for your level of driving experience – a learner driver can be convicted of either offence.

You can commit the offences of careless or inconsiderate driving in/on any mechanically propelled vehicle i.e. any vehicle that's powered by an engine. This means that as well as cars, lorries and motorcycles, it also includes off-road motorcycles, pit-bikes, mini-motos, tractors, plant equipment, Segways (gyroscopic scooters), electric scooters and go-carts etc. The offence also applies to both roads and public places e.g. public car parks and pedestrian precincts etc.


Answer

Football disorder, more commonly known as hooliganism, is the violent and aggressive behaviour associated with football fans. This can include vandalism and getting into fights with supporters of the opposite team - either before, during or after the football match. This can intimidate other supporters and cause an unfriendly atmosphere.

Football clubs do their best to ensure safety measures are in place to deal with/prevent football disorder. One way of doing so is to issue a football banning order. These are civil orders that can ban an individual from attending football matches for a period of time - this will be decided on each set of circumstances. These can be issued when the person has got previous convictions for violence at football matches. Breaching an order can result in imprisonment and/or a fine.

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