Anti-social Behaviour


The origins of anti-social behaviour= 'ASB'

  • 1990s- ASB is a term used in studies on poverty and social justice 
  • 1993 'Back to basics' - conservative government campaign 
  • 1997 New Labour- focus on law and order, 'respect' 
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ASB- legal definition

  • Crime and disorder Act 1998

s.1 specifies a local authority or police can apply for an ASBO if a person has:

acted in an anti-social manner that caused or will likely yo cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as himself 

  • Anti-social behaviour Act 2003

Strengthened ASBO provisions, measures to address specific behaviour e.g. drug use, noise, littering and trespassing 

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ASB- legal definition

ASB is:

  • Conduct that has caused or likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person 
  • Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person's occupation of residential premises 
  • Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person 
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Broken windows

  • ASB and neighbourhood decline: vicious circle 

Home office 2000 

  • If visible signs of minor disorder are not challenged, more serious crime could follow 

Wilson and Helling 1982 

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The politics of behaviour

  • 1990's studies linked to ASB to social inequality, deprivation and an absence of social justice 
  • 2000's the state focuses on enforcement and crime control rather than social justice and underlying causes of crime 

Squires and Stephan 2005 

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Criminalising youth

C20th : incremental criminalisation of working class youth

Hopkins -Burke 2008 

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Perceptions of ASB and youth

  • Young people were seen as responsible for low-level disorder and their 'incivilities' and unsupervised gathering in public places caused anxiety and unease 

Girling et al 2000 

  • Main bulk of aggravation comes from young people, yobbos, school children 
  • They seem to feel that anything goes and people just do not count, these youngsters 
  • They're either drunk, or on drugs, or they're fighting 

Girling et al 2000 

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Controlling ASB: key legislation

  • Crime and disorder act 1998 
  • Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 
  • Police Reform Act 2002 
  • Anti-social behaviour act 2003 
  • Anti- social, behaviour, crime and policing act 2014
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Enforcement measures

  • Anti- social behaviour order (ASBO)
  • Age 10+ 
  • Civil order 
  • Breach is a criminal offence 
  • Criminal Anti-Social behaviour order (CRASBO) civil order 
  • made on conviction in criminal proceedings 

Informal approaches 

  • Verbal and written warnings 
  • Community resolution e.g. mediation, written apology, compensation 
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC)
  • Parenting contract 
  • Counselling

Formal approaches (court)

  • Civil injunction 
  • Criminal behaviour order 
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Additional powers

Police, local authorities, housing associations can variously employ:

  • Dispersal powers 
  • Community protection notice 
  • Public spaces protection order 
  • Closure powers 
  • Parenting order
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ASB and social control

  • Do measures affect people's right to due process? 
  • Drift to more extensive social control - net widening : Cohen 1985 
  • The policing of ASB marks an increasingly disciplinary and exclusive society: Squire and Stephens 2005 
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