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Anti-Social Behaviour & Disorder

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What is Anti-Social Behaviour and Disorder?

Antisocial behaviour is defined in law as “behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person.” (Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 and Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011)

For harassment, alarm or distress to persons of the same household please see the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence section of the website.

There are multiple forms of anti-social behaviour (ASB), which will be explained in more detail:

These can be linked to other elements, all of which are important for people to feel safe in the community:

Incidents can appear small, unimportant, insignificant and you may doubt yourself. ASB can get progressively worse, last for a long time, and be very serious. Not all ASB is a crime, but a lot is or can progress to crimes.

A number of organisations have identified a range of activities that may be ASB:

  • Noise – including loud music, DIY at unsocial hours, loud parties
  • Shouting, swearing and fighting
  • Intimidation/ threatening behaviour through threats or violence individually or in groups 
  • Harassment and stalking (see Stalking and Harassment)
  • Verbal abuse
  • Abusive behaviour aimed at certain people with characteristics (see Hate Crime)
  • Vehicle nuisance – driving in a careless way, including congregating for car racing or cruising, or parking to block a person’s access to their home or property
  • Fly tipping, including abandoning vehicles
  • Animal nuisance
  • Vandalism, including property damage, fly-posting and graffiti
  • Anti-social drugs and alcohol use (can include drug dealing see Drug Trafficking and Dealing)
  • Arson (see Arson and Deliberate Fire Setting)
  • Gangs and organised crime (see Criminal Exploitation)
  • Misuse of fireworks

(Victim Support, ASB Help, and Crimestoppers)

The impact of ASB can include raised anxiety, fear, and individuals, families or people in communities feeling unsafe and unable to either leave their homes or access certain facilities or areas of their local communities.

Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan 2023

The Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan was launched on 27 March 2023. The Plan sets out the government’s approach to stamping out anti-social behaviour and restoring the right of people to feel safe in, and proud of, their local area. The plan is an ambitious and wide-reaching new approach that will give Police and Crime Commissioners, local authorities, and other agencies the tools to tackle the blight of anti-social behaviour facing communities across England and Wales.

Please see the updated links to the refreshed guidance for professionals and victims guidance page.

Anti-Social Behaviour Statutory Guidance & Principles 2022

The Wales Safer Communities Network have released a seven minute briefing following the release of the Anti-Social Behaviour Statutory Guidance by the Home Office in June 2022. Please click here for the most recent seven-minute briefing.

The Home Office Anti-Social Behaviour Strategic Board has developed a set of ASB Principles for local communities. These were launched during ASB Awareness Week 2022 and are designed to be used by any agency involved in tackling ASB. For example, Councils, Community Safety Partnerships, Police, Health, Housing Associations, Community Safety Officers, Police and Crime Commissioners, and any other agency involved in the process from the moment an incident has occurred through to case closure and victim support.

This Act set in place the six remedies currently available to manage ASB, which are: civil injunctions; criminal behaviour orders; community protection notices; public spaces protection orders; closure orders; dispersal powers. It also introduced the community trigger and community remedy.

  • Acceptable Behaviour Contract

An Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) also known as an Acceptable Behaviour Agreement (ABA), is a voluntary written agreement with an individual. The individual agrees to abide by the terms specified and to work with relevant agencies to reduce ASB. It is part of the options and whilst not legally binding, if breached, it can add to the evidence for the enforcement options to be used to tackle the ASB. For more information please see ASB Help website.

  • Parenting Contract

A Parenting Contract is a voluntary agreement with the parent(s) or guardian of children who have committed ASB in the community. These contracts often work alongside ABCs and should incorporate the parents in the rehabilitation and prevention of recurrences of the behaviour.

  • Parenting Orders

Parenting Orders are made through the Court system when there is a problem with a young person’s behaviour. These are legally binding (Crime and Disorder Act 1998) and if not complied with carry a fine.

  • Criminal Protection Warning

A Criminal Protection Warning is written and provided before a Community Protection Notice is issued. It states the behaviour that needs to cease, if not then the Notice is issued.

  • Civil injunctions

Courts award injunctions to stop people engaging in ASB. They can be awarded without notice but are only available if there has been a threat or use of violence.

  • Criminal behaviour orders

Criminal court issued against a person who has been convicted of an offence and is causing ASB.

  • Dispersal powers

Allow the police to order a person who is causing harassment, alarm or distress to leave a specific area for up to 48 hours.

  • Community protection notices

Can be issued by local authorities, police and some housing associations to address a wide range of problems, such as littering and noise nuisance.

  • Public space protection orders

Can be used by local authorities to prevent persistent, unreasonable and/or detrimental behaviour.

  • Closure orders

Court order which closes down properties that are causing serious nuisance, disorder or criminal behaviour, putting in place a temporary ban on anyone occupying the premises.

  • Possession proceedings

Evict the perpetrator of ASB through the courts.

  • Expediated Public Spaces Protection Orders

Expediated Public Spaces Protection Orders (E-PSPO) were introduced through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 to protect from harm by protests at schools, vaccination centres and Test, Trace, Protect. The Council must consult with chief officer of police and local policing body, relevant school or NHS authority. It can remain in place for six months and a breach is a criminal offence.


Further tools and powers can be found in Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Anti-social behaviour powers. Statutory guidance for frontline professionals, revised in January 2021.

  • Resolve

Resolve website – includes information on their BTEC programmes and a range of other resources

  • ASB Help

Community Trigger podcast

  • Sanctuary

Understanding antisocial behaviour (YouTube)

  • Local Government Association

Anti-Social Behaviour in our communities webinar

Useful Links

ASB Help – information for victims and practitioners

Visit the Website

Victim Support – information and support for victims

Visit the Website

Crimestoppers – information on what ASB is and how to report it

Visit the Website

Resolve – information and advice for practitioners

Visit the Website

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

ASB Help provide information and advice to those impacted by anti-social behaviour in Wales and England. They also have information on who to report to, such as Local Authorities, Police and Housing Associations.

Community Trigger (also known as ASB case review) is available through Local Authorities (see Directory), or via the four police force websites (Dyfed Powys, Gwent, North Wales, South Wales). If there have been three or more times within six months that you or others have reported incidents, you can use the Trigger for a review to be carried out so that agencies deal with persistent ASB. For more information see the ASB Help website.

If you experience ASB, you may have to help provide evidence before action can be taken. Ask who you are reporting to what information/ evidence they will need. Increasingly some are utilising Apps. You may have to call the police on 101 or even 999 if it’s an emergency.