Government announces overhaul of anti-social behaviour tools
The Secretary of State for the Home Department, Theresa May, has set out the Government’s proposals to amend the tools available to tackle anti-social behaviour.
The changes include replacing the Anti-Social Behaviour Order, the Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction, the Independent Support Order, the Drinking Banning Order and the Intervention Order with the Crime Prevention Injunction (CPI). The CPI will be a civil order obtainable in the county court against adults and in the youth court against children and is largely modelled on the Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction. The main difference will be that it will be available to more public authorities and it will no longer be a requirement that the anti-social conduct has impacted upon the housing management functions of the applicant.
The Government also intends to introduce a mandatory ground for possession against secure tenants if the landlord has given a notice to the tenant setting out the reasons for seeking possession and the tenant has had an opportunity to request a review of the decision. The mandatory ground for possession will be available in specified circumstances, including where the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household or a visitor to the property has breached the terms of a CPI within the last 12 months and where a property has been closed for more than 48 hours following the grant of an order equivalent to the current closure orders.
There will also be a discretionary ground for possession in circumstances where a tenant or a member of their household has been convicted of a criminal offence which was committed at the scene of a riot or anywhere in the UK and the criminal offence was affray, violent disorder, provocation of violence, theft and violence against people or property
The Government also intends to introduce:
• a Criminal Behaviour Order to replace the Anti-Social Behaviour Order on conviction and Drink Banning Order on conviction;
• a Community Protection Notice to replace the Litter Clearing Notice, Street Litter Clearing Notice and Graffiti/Defacement Removal Notice;
• a Community Protection Order (Public Places) to replace the Designated Public Place Order, the Gating Order and the Dog Control Order.
• A Community Protection Order (Closure) to replace the Premises Closure Order, the Crack House Closure Order, the Noisy Premises Closure Order and the Closure Order.
In February - May 2011, the Government consulted on the changes.
Members of Arden Chambers responded to the consultation and expressed some concerns about the proposals (see our consultation responses here, or download our consultation response here) whilst agreeing that anti-social behaviour should be a government priority, it was considered that [paragraph 5]:
“generally, the current remedies on offer for anti-social behaviour are tried, tested and understood by the relevant authorities. There are, of course, tweaks and improvements that could be introduced into the current system…..but ….due to the broad-brush approach taken by the consultation, issues have been overlooked and the chance to generate meaningful reform could be missed as a consequence.“
Following the publication of the White Paper (available here), the National Housing Federation has already warned the Government against scrapping ASBIs before the new tools have been proven to work, read their article here.