Keeping safe - in your neighbourhood - Anti-Social Behaviour Unit

As part of Sutton's continued efforts to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB), a special unit funded by Sutton Council co-ordinates ASB interventions including criminal behaviour orders (CBOs) where appropriate.

Police and council teams can visit communities; take statements and provide a service to police and partners to take action.

With access to the Crown Prosecution Services the unit ensures a joined-up approach.

Police action on anti-social behaviour

In order to tackle residents' concerns on ASB, Police will:

· Target problem individuals and areas with extra patrols to deter repeat incidents

· Work with partners to physically improve areas

· Request people who have gathered to leave an area

· Issue fixed penalty notices for disorder (£80)

· Send letters home to parents detailing the behaviour of their sons and daughters

· Pursue acceptable behaviour contracts (ABCs) - a voluntary agreement between those responsible for the behaviour, the local Police and Sutton Council and/or registered social landlord

· Apply to the courts for CBOs - a compulsory order made by a court for adults for minimum 2 years to no maximum timeframe and for under 18s 12 months to 3 years to protect the public from ASB by restricting the movement and monitoring the behaviour of the person committing anti-social acts. CBOs can only be given to those aged ten or more. A breach is a criminal offence and can result in arrest

· Make arrests

· Support the prosecution of offenders by other agencies.

Anti-social behaviour

Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is described as - 'Acting in a manner which causes harassment, alarm or distress to other people'

Some acts of ASB are clearly criminal, e.g. vandalism, graffiti and racial abuse. Other behaviour like shouting in the street or gathering in large groups may be considered anti-social behaviour rather than criminal behaviour. Because of the range of what constitutes ASB, Police actions can be very different too. For example, police may decide that having a word with individuals or groups is sufficient. On the other hand, more serious incidents could involve police dispersing groups of people or making an arrest, which may lead to a charge and prosecution in court.

CBOs

When a member of the community fails to stop their unacceptable behaviour, then enforcement, by way of a CBO is considered. A CBO is issued when a person is convicted of a criminal offence where the individual is involved in persistent anti-social behaviour. The CBO need not have a direct link to the offence an individual appears in court for.

The Sutton ASB unit is responsible for liaising with the local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams, collating evidence, preparing files, consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service to consider prohibitive conditions and finally attending court for the hearing.

Once a CBO has been imposed; the individuals that are subject to the CBO are monitored to ensure that any breaches are dealt with appropriately.

It is an offence to breach the terms of a CBO and if found guilty of a breach, this would result in a further conviction. A court could impose a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment or a fine, or both for an adult.

Sutton's approach to the prevention of Anti-Social Behaviour

If a young person (under the age of 18) is stopped for anti-social behaviour, a letter will be sent home to their parent or carer advising them of the young person's unacceptable behaviour and where to seek advice and support. If the young person continues to be responsible for anti-social behaviour, then an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) will be considered.

Acceptable Behaviour contracts

In the case of persistent offenders an ABC contract can be considered. This is a set of acceptable behaviour guidelines that is agreed and signed up to by the young person and the police with agreed support from the young person's family. If this does not work then an application to the courts for an ASBO will be considered.

Community support

We need the support of communities in gathering information about ASB. To report an incident of ASB:

  • In an emergency call 999
  • In a non-emergency situation, but requiring police attention, call Sutton Borough Police on 0300 123 1212 (ask for Sutton)
  • Contact your local Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
  • Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111.