Anti-Social Behaviour

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that make many people’s lives a misery – from litter and vandalism, to public drunkenness or aggressive dogs, to noisy or abusive neighbours.

Such a wide range of behaviours means that responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour is shared between a number of agencies, particularly the police, councils and social landlords.

Victims can feel helpless, bounced from one agency to another and then back again. In many cases, the behaviour is targeted against the most vulnerable in our society and even what is perceived as ‘low level’ anti-social behaviour, when targeted and persistent, can have devastating effects on a victim’s life.

The changes made to the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act (2014) are designed to put the victim at the heart of the response to anti-social behaviour, and give police and partners the flexibility to deal with any given situation.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill received Royal Assent on 13 March 2014 with its provisions coming into effect on 20 October 2014.  

Anti-social behaviour (ASB) can ruin lives and tackling it is a priority for Dorset Police.

In this section, you can find out more about ASB, how to report it, and what the police and local partners can do to tackle it.

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ASB can leave you feeling intimidated, angry and frightened and includes things such as:

  • Rowdy, noisy behaviour in otherwise quiet neighbourhoods
  • Night time noise from houses or gardens, especially between 11.00 pm and 7.00 am
  • Threatening, drunken or 'yobbish' behaviour
  • Vandalism, graffiti and fly-posting
  • Dealing or buying drugs on the street
  • Litter and fly-tipping rubbish
  • Aggressive begging
  • Drinking in the street
  • Setting off fireworks late at night
  • Abandoning cars on the street

Don’t turn a blind eye to anti-social behaviour. If you see it, report it.

You can report anti-social behaviour online here or by calling Dorset Police on 101. In an emergency, where life is at risk or a crime is being committed, always dial 999.

If we are not able to deal with your complaint directly ourselves, we will give you advice on which local agency can help and how to contact them. We work very closely with our partners to deal with anti-social behaviour, including all local authorities.

No matter how you report anti-social behaviour, all complaints are treated as confidential. So you don’t have to worry about your identity being revealed.

We understand that anti-social behaviour has a considerable impact on people’s lives. When you report ASB to Dorset Police we will:

  • Take your complaint seriously
  • Investigate your case with the same level of professionalism with which we investigate crime
  • Treat you with respect, compassion and empathy
  • Offer crime prevention advice or other practical help
  • Explain what will happen next
  • Provide regular updates about progress on your case

For more information about what to expect from Dorset Police when you report a crime or incident, visit our victim of crime page.

Community Trigger gives victims and communities the right to request a review of their case and bring agencies together to take a joined up, problem-solving approach to find a solution to anti-social behaviour.

More information about the Community Trigger can be viewed here.

If anti-social behaviour is a problem in your area, there’s a lot you can do to help put a stop to it. You can:

  • Talk to your neighbours to find out if they're affected as well
  • If you feel comfortable doing so talk to the person causing the problem; they may not realise how it is affecting you
  • Tell your landlord or residents’ association about the situation
  • Contact your Neighbourhood Policing Team

Another really important thing you can do to help tackle ASB is to record when and where the problems are happening, including:

  • Dates and times of incidents
  • As much information as possible about what has happened
  • Names and descriptions of those involved if known
  • Details of any witnesses
  • How the incident has affected you

What the police can do:

The police and other local agencies have a variety of different powers available to tackle anti-social behaviour. Many cases of anti-social behaviour can be resolved without the need for legal action. The most common methods are usually a warning letter and an interview with the perpetrator.

What the police can do

To stop or prevent individuals engaging in anti-social behaviour quickly, nipping problems in the bud before they escalate.

nb - The start date for this power will be in early 2015, until further notice ASBO's will continue to be used.

Issued by any criminal court against a person who has been convicted of an offence to tackle the most persistently anti-social individuals who are also engaged in criminal activity.

Requires a person committing or likely to commit anti-social behaviour, crime or disorder to leave an area for up to 48 hours.

To stop a person aged 16 or over, business or organisation committing anti-social behaviour which spoils the community’s quality of life.

Designed to stop individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in a public space.

To allow the police or council to quickly close premises which are being used, or likely to be used, to commit nuisance or disorder.

The Act introduces a new absolute ground for possession of secure and assured tenancies where anti-social behaviour or criminality has already been proven by another court.

What other agencies can do:

Dorset Police works closely in partnership with other agencies and with you, our communities, to tackle anti-social behaviour and the causes of anti-social behaviour.

What other agencies can do

Local councils have powers to deal with:

  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Graffiti and fly-posting
  • Damage to public property (street lights, road signs etc)
  • Rubbish and fly-tipping
  • Noise, including loud music, noisy neighbours, parties, alarms, animals and noise from pubs and clubs

Local authorities also have the same power as the police to apply to the courts for anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)

Please click on the links below to find out more about how local authorities tackle ASB across Dorset:

If the anti-social behaviour problem involves the tenant or a property of registered social landlord or a housing association, the landlord can take action against the person committing the anti-social behaviour. They can work with the police and the local authority to ensure appropriate action is taken to solve the problem.