Agenda Item: 4 [p]
ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ACT 2003
Report of the Chief Executive
1. PURPOSE OF REPORT
1.1 To provide a summary of the provisions of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 and in
particular to seek powers to implement part 4, sections 30-36, relating to the
designation of areas where the Police can disperse groups causing intimidation. This
is linked to the Corporate Priority – ‘Making Spelthorne Safer’.
2.1 In March 2003 the Government published a white paper outlining its proposals for
tackling anti-social behaviour. Respect and Responsibility – taking a stand against
anti-social behaviour focussed on providing local authorities and the police with a
wider, more flexible range of powers to meet their existing responsibilities and
respond to the needs of their local communities.
2.2 The Act is designed to ensure that the police have the appropriate powers to deal
with serious anti-social behaviour. It introduces new powers for tackling the problem
of premises used for drug dealing and for dispersing intimidating groups. It enables
the police to tackle the nuisance that can be caused by young people with air
weapons, and supports action against gun crime by banning the possession of
imitation guns and air guns in public without good reason. It also tackles the danger
of air weapons that can be easily converted to be used with conventional ammunition.
It also amends existing police powers to place conditions on public assemblies, deal
with illegal raves and to deal with unauthorised encampments.
2.3 The Act also provides powers for local authorities and those working with them to
tackle anti-social behaviour in local communities. It extends landlords’ powers to deal
with anti-social behaviour in social housing, including developing the use of
injunctions and demoted tenancies. It also includes provisions aimed at dealing with
noise nuisance. It develops the sanctions that are available for use against those
who engage in anti-social behaviour and extends the range of agencies those who
engage in anti-social behaviour and extends the range of agencies that can use
them. It provides a means for children who are behaving anti-socially and creates the
mechanisms for enforcing this work. The Act extends local authorities’ powers in
relation to cleaning land. It extends the measures that can be taken to remove
graffiti, and restricts the sale of aerosol paint to children. The Act also gives local
authorities powers to intervene in disputes over high hedges.
2.4 The Act is in ten parts. Part 1 creates new powers to close premises that are being
used for drug dealing or use. Part 2 extends powers for tackling anti-social behaviour
in social housing. Part 3 develops mechanisms for enforcing parental responsibility
for children who behave in an anti-social way in school or in the community. Part 4
creates a new power for the police to designate areas where they can disperse
groups causing intimidation. Part 5 deals with the misuse of air weapons. Part 6
extends powers for local authorities to clean the environment. Part 7 amends police
powers for dealing with public assemblies and trespassers. Part 8 provides new
powers for local authorities to intervene in disputes regarding high hedges. Part 9
develops the existing sanctions of anti-social behaviour orders, fixed penalty notices
and supervision orders. Part 10 contains general provisions.
3.1 One of the on-going major problems affecting parts of the Borough is anti-social
behaviour, and tackling this problem is a priority under the Crime and Disorder
Reduction Strategy 2002-5. Residents frequently complain that they feel threatened
by groups of young people hanging around and that no action is taken when those
people harass, intimidate or act in an anti-social manner.
3.2 The new powers contained within Part 4 of the Act, Sections 30-36 provide the
opportunity for the Police, with the agreement of a Local Authority, to tackle such
problems. The new powers are summarised below: -
o A power for a senior police officer to designate an area, with local authority
agreement, where there is persistent anti-social behaviour and a problem with
groups causing intimidation.
o Once a senior police officer and local authority have agreed to designate an
area, they must publish that fact in a local newspaper or through notices in the
area, and it can then be designated for up to six months.
o In these areas, police and community support officers will have a power to
disperse groups where their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to
result in a member of the public being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or
distressed. The individuals can then be excluded from a specified area for up
to 24 hours.
o The group does not commit an offence just because an officer has chosen to
use this power. However, if individuals refuse to follow the officer’s directions
to disperse, they will then be committing an offence.
o There will also be powers in the designated area for the police and community
support officers to take children home after 9pm at night and up to 6am, if they
are not under the control of an adult. This is a discretionary power, it is not a
curfew, and does not require the police to act in relation to every child out at
3.3 The key points are that areas can be designated where the police believe: -
a) that any members of the public have been intimidated, harassed, alarmed or
distressed as a result of the presence or behaviour of groups of two or more
persons in public places in any locality in his police area (the ‘relevant
b) that anti-social behaviour is a significant and persistent problem in the
The Act requires the agreement of the local authority to such designations.
Following discussions with the Police, they believe that the use of this new power will
significantly increase their ability to tackle anti-social behaviour and they are already
discussing with the Council areas that could be designated to tackle current
4.1 The Council does not have to agree with proposals submitted by the Police, but in
practice the proposals will result from on-going police / Council partnership work that
identifies current problems using crime records and intelligence.
5. FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS
5.1 The Police will meet the cost of publishing public articles. No other costs are
6.1 1) That the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Community
Safety and Community Liaison, be given authority to agree to the designation of
areas within the Borough in accordance with the powers conferred by Sections 30-36
of Part 4 of the Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003.
2) That the Officers report to a future meeting of the Executive on the details of the
other powers contained within the Act and proposals for their use.
Contact: Tim Kita, Head of Communications and Community Safety
Portfolio Holder: Councillor John Packman
Background Papers: There Are None