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Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

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Introduction to anti-social behaviour (ASB)

PDFVictim and Witness Support Victim and Witness Support 3mb

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) can be a real issue for some communities. The Crime and Disorder Act (1998) defines ASB as behaving in a manner that ‘caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress to one or more persons not of the same household.’ Recognising the impact of the behaviour on the victims and the community, as well as looking at the risk factors that cause such behaviour, is key to tackling the problems.

ASB can include:

  • Harassment/ Intimidation
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Criminal Damage
  • Graffiti and vandalism
  • Noise nuisance
  • Substance misuse
  • Assault
  • Vehicle related nuisance

ASB is not:

  • Children playing in the street or communal areas
  • Young people gathering socially - unless they are being intimidating to individuals.
  • Being unable to park outside your own home
  • DIY and car repairs- unless these are taking place late at night
  • Civil disputes between neighbours e.g. shared driveways.
  • One-off complaints of noise nuisance e.g. one-off parties.

There are a number of tools and powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour: These include:

  • Warning letters to perpetrators of anti-social behaviour
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC) - A voluntary agreement between a person, the council and/or the police. The person agrees to stop the anti-social behaviour; in return a support package can be tailored to the individuals needs.
  • Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBO) - these orders place certain restrictions on a person. If the conditions are not complied with, the person can be prosecuted by law.
  • Dispersal orders – where the police can move people on in groups of more than two, acting in an anti-social manner.

Wiltshire Council aims to work with Partners to put sustainable solutions in place, to prevent anti-social behaviour from happening in the first place. Following this the council will support individuals and groups to change their behaviour. We only use enforcement as a final measure.

The council's responsibilities

The Crime and Disorder act (1998) changed the approach to tackling crime and anti-social behaviour by being give a statutory duty to act. The council started to work in partnership with other organisations to reduce crime and disorder. In fact following a revision of the act, it states that the council should consider the implications of crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour, in every duty. Wiltshire Council’s anti-social behaviour team is committed to tackling the cause and effects of this type of behaviour and are working to deal with anti-social behaviour and the issues that cause it.

Who does the council work in partnership with?

Wiltshire’s anti-social behaviour team works in partnership with a whole host of other organisations, to tackle anti-social behaviour. These include: Wiltshire Police and Neighbourhood Policing Teams, Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, Wiltshire Probation, Wiltshire NHS, the Crown Prosecution Service and voluntary sector services.

How the council works to tackle ASB

We have a small team of community safety professionals dedicated to tackling community safety issues, plus those dedicated in tackling anti-social behaviour. The officers work with a number of services across the council, including Environmental Services, Services for Young People, Department of Children and Families, Education and Community Development. The main role of the anti-social behaviour team is to coordinate a response to anti-social behaviour, by using their problem solving skills and their extensive knowledge of services to ensure every organisation that can provide solutions is involved.

In Wiltshire we have a proven track record on our dedication to tackling anti-social behaviour. We have monthly anti-social behaviour Panels, attended by a range of agencies, which deal with a number of cases. As a result 71 acceptable behaviour contracts have been issued. Much anti-social behaviour is reduced or eradicated by providing a range of solutions to the problem.

Find out what it is and who can help by downloading our PDFanti-social behaviour leaflet anti-social behaviour leaflet 173kb.

Who can help?

Before you report an incident of anti-social behaviour it helps if you have as much information as possible to give to those who may be able to resolve the situation. To help, you can download a log sheet and record any information relating to a person or persons whose behaviour is causing you alarm, harassment or distress. This may include a specific incident such as when abusive language is used, loud music is constantly being played, or when people are causing a nuisance. It is also useful to include how the incident made you feel.

Anti-social behaviour can be dealt with by different organisations depending on the nature of your report. Please refer to the Who to contact for help page for more information.

Useful documents/leaflets

PDFAnti-social behaviour strategy Anti-social behaviour strategy 321kb – the partnership’s strategy for 2013 – 2014, shows how we plan to tackle anti-social behaviour in Wiltshire.  

Latest News

Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction Strategy Consultation

The strategy sets out how the Swindon and Wiltshire Community Safety Partnerships will reduce ASB, support communities and victims as well as how perpetrators will be dealt with. It also sets out how partners will work together.

The reduction strategy consultation closed on 31 December 2012 and we would like to thank all those who contributed.

The Strategy, implementation plan, consultation report and Diversity Impact Assessment are all available to view here.

What powers does a dispersal order give the police?

The powers are designed to reduce anti-social behaviour problems in defined areas. They do not prevent people entering an area, but do allow the police and police community support officers (PCSOs) to take action to disperse groups of two or more, if they believe that their presence or behaviour has resulted, or is likely to result, in any member of the community being harassed, intimidated, alarmed or distressed. Individuals can be directed to leave the locality and may be excluded from the area for up to 24 hours.

The police can also return young people under 16 home, who were out on the streets and not under the control of an adult, after 9pm if they are either: At risk or vulnerable from anti-social behaviour, crime etc; or causing, or at risk of causing, anti-social behaviour.

Contact Details (LiveLink)

Multiple Contacts:
Telephone: 0300 456 0107
Out of hours:
Postal Address:

Safer Communities and Licensing
Public Protection Service
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JD

In Person:

Related documents

Last updated: 8 February 2016



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Safer Communities and Licensing
Public Protection Service
Wiltshire Council
County Hall
Bythesea Road
BA14 8JD