ASB Act Guide

PSPOs image From 20 October, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act will be rolled out across the UK.

The Manifesto Club has grave concerns about the unprecedentedly open-ended powers contained in this law, which could be used for anything from banning rough sleeping or ball games to confiscating buskers’ instruments.

A summary of these powers is below.

EVENT, 21 OCTOBER: Debate these new powers at a Manifesto Club clubnight, What will the ASB Act mean for freedom?.

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO)

  • Local authorities can ban any activity they judge to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life’ in a locality;
  • No requirement for public consultation;
  • Violation is a criminal offence;
  • PSPO can be passed by a single council officer or committee;
  • Punished by £100 on-the-spot fine, or prosecution;
  • Enforced by police, council officers or private contractors.

Dispersal powers

  • A person can be ordered to leave an area for up to 48 hours if judged to be ‘committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour’;
  • Issued by police officers or Police Community Support Officers;
  • No requirement that the area be designated a dispersal zone in advance;
  • Officer can specify the route for person to leave and can confiscate any item ‘that could be used to commit anti-social behaviour’;
  • Violation is a criminal offence, up to level 4 fine and 3 months in prison.

Civil injunctions (replace ASBOs)

  • Injunction can be issued if person ‘has engaged or threatens to engage in anti-social behaviour’;

  • Issued in Magistrate’s Court, on application by state agency (eg, council, police, NHS Protect, Environment Agency);
  • Injunction can require the individual to do specified things, or not to do specified things, for the purpose of preventing the individual ‘from engaging in anti-social behaviour’;
  • Anti-social behaviour is defined as behaviour causing ‘harassment, alarm and distress’ (outside of social housing); or in social housing, as behaviour causing ‘nuisance and annoyance’;
  • Case proven on balance of probabilities;
  • Violation is civil offence, prosecuted as contempt of court which carries an unlimited fine and maximum two years’ prison sentence.

Community Protection Notice (CPN)

  • CPN can be issued if the conduct of an individual or body is judged to have a ‘detrimental effect’ on the ‘quality of life of those in the locality’;
  • CPN can require people to stop doing specified things or to do specified things;
  • Can be issued by council and police officers;
  • Officers can seize items ‘used in the commission of the offence of failing to comply with a CPN’, such as ‘sound-making equipment’;
  • Issuing of notice must be proceeded by warning, either written or a ‘pre-agreed form of words’ that can be used by the officer on the spot;
  • Violation is a criminal offence;
  • Punished by £100 on-the-spot fine, or by prosecution.