What is anti-social behaviour?

Report anti-social behaviour

How do we define antisocial behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is defined as ‘Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person’ (Section 105(4) of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014).

But what does this mean? Find out more about how we classify antisocial behaviour and the many activities that it covers.

What constitutes antisocial behaviour?

There are three main categories for antisocial behaviour, depending on how many people are affected:

  • Personal antisocial behaviour is when a person targets a specific individual or group.
  • Nuisance antisocial behaviour is when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community.
  • Environmental antisocial behaviour is when a person’s actions affect the wider environment, such as public spaces or buildings.

Under these main headings antisocial behaviour falls into one of 13 different types:

  1. Vehicle abandoned: This covers vehicles that appear to have been left by their owner, rather than stolen and abandoned. It includes scrap or ‘end of life’ vehicles and those damaged at the scene of a road traffic collision that have been abandoned and aren’t awaiting recovery.
  2. Vehicle nuisance or inappropriate use: This relates to vehicles being used in acts such as street cruising (driving up and down the street causing annoyance and bothering other road users), vehicle convoys and riding or driving on land other than a road. It also covers the misuse of go-peds, motorised skateboards and electric-propelled cycles, and the unlicensed dealing of vehicles where a person has two or more vehicles on the same road within 500 metres of each other.
  3. Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour: This refers to general nuisance behaviour in a public place or a place to which the public have access, such as private clubs. It does not include domestic-related behaviour, harassment or public disorder which should be reported as crimes.
  4. Rowdy or nuisance neighbours: This covers any rowdy behaviour or general nuisance caused by neighbours. It also covers noise nuisance from parties or playing loud music.
  5. Littering or drugs paraphernalia: This includes fly posting and discarding litter, rubbish or drugs paraphernalia in any public place.
  6. Animal problems: This covers any situation where animals are creating a nuisance or people’s behaviour associated with the use of animals is deemed as antisocial. It includes uncontrolled animals, stray dogs, barking, fouling and intimidation by an animal.
  7. Trespassing: This is any situation in which people have entered land, water or premises without lawful authority or permission. It ranges from taking an unauthorised shortcut through a garden to setting up unauthorised campsites.
  8. Nuisance calls: This covers any type of communication by phone that causes anxiety and annoyance, including silent calls and intrusive ‘cold calling’ from businesses. It does not cover indecent, threatening or offensive behaviour which should be reported as crimes.
  9. Street drinking: This relates to unlicensed drinking in public spaces, where the behaviour of the persons involved is deemed as antisocial. It also covers unplanned and spontaneous parties which encroach on the street.
  10. Prostitution-related activity: This relates to any activity involving prostitution such as loitering, displaying cards or promoting prostitution. It may also refer to activities in and around a brothel that impact on local residents. It does not include ‘kerb-crawling’ which should be reported as a crime.
  11. Nuisance noise: This relates to all incidents of noise nuisance that do not involve neighbours (see ‘Nuisance neighbours’ above).
  12. Begging: This covers anyone begging or asking for charitable donations in a public place, or encouraging a child to do so, without a license. Unlicensed ticket sellers at or near public transport hubs may also fall into this category.
  13. Misuse of fireworks: This will include the inappropriate use of fireworks, the unlawful sale or possession of fireworks and noise created by fireworks.

If you’re experiencing any of the above, we may be able to help.

What isn't anti-social behaviour?

Some examples of behaviours which are NOT generally considered as anti-social behaviour include:

  • Young people playing in parks and gardens
  • Disputes between members of individual households (see below)
  • Inconsiderate parking
  • Disputes over property and boundaries (you can get advice from the citizens advice bureau or consult a solicitor)
  • Business activities associated with either commercial or private premises

Neighbour disputes and/or family disagreements

We will not intervene in neighbour disputes and or family disagreements, which by their nature are based on people's intolerance and or prejudice associated with intergenerational, individual and lifestyle differences.

The classic neighbour/family type disputes between individuals do not amount to criminality or anti-social behaviour and are regarded as a private matter between the individuals concerned.

In the absence of parties agreeing to participate with mediation parties will be advised to seek closure to their situation, through privately accessed civil remedy.

Sharing information

Agencies use a multi-agency case management system to record and response respond effectively to reports received in relation to anti-social behaviour. Should you require any details about information on what information is shared and who it is shared with please contact the agency directly.

Our commitment and expectations 

What we ask of you:

  • Report the behaviour
  • Give details - to enable us to collate information of what is occurring, the persistence of the behaviour and the impact it is having
  • Keep a record of the behaviour - we will ask people affected by the behaviour to complete a diary, or possibly a written statement to evidence what they have experienced. 

In return, we will:

  • Record all complaints received, and will give advice
  • Remain in regular contact with you and offer support
  • Agree an action plan with you so that you are aware of action being taken and what it is expected from you at each stage
  • Look at the facts and assess the type, extent and seriousness of the problem and decide what action is necessary and proportionate to help resolve it. 
  • We will consider a range of enforcement powers to enable us to deal with various types of ASB. These powers are incremental and usually start with a letter advising someone to cease their ASB. If these steps are not effective, action can ultimately be taken through the courts.

Contact us

No one should have to suffer anti-social behaviour. If you notice, or are suffering from, anti-social behaviour you can use our online form to report the incident.