Anti-social Behaviour

Drunk youths

Anti-social behaviour covers a wide variety of incidents, some of which are criminal offences and can be dealt with by police and others which are better dealt with by the council or another agency.

Anti-social behaviour is any intimidating or threatening activity that scares you or badly affects your quality of life.

Examples of anti-social behaviour that are a crime and can be dealt with by police include:

  • Vandalism that is linked to threatening and/or offensive behaviour
  • Graffiti linked to threatening and/or offensive behaviour (e.g. involving racism or other hate crimes)
  • Buying drugs on the street
  • Drinking on the street
  • Threatening or drunken behaviour
  • Setting off fireworks late at night
  • Off road motor bikes.

Examples of anti-social behaviour that are not a criminal offence and can be dealt with by your local council may include:

  • Rowdy and noisy neighbours including loud music and late parties
  • Uncontrolled or stray dogs - only contact Cheshire Police if the dog is causing a road obstruction or being aggressive towards other people
  • Abandoned vehicles
  • Unkempt gardens, rubbish dumping
  • Littering
  • General vandalism
  • General graffiti, such as 'tagging'.

People loitering on the street waiting for drug dealers can also be perceived as anti-social behaviour. Drug dealing is a crime – but sometimes it’s first reported as anti-social behaviour. Such threatening behaviour causes alarm and distress for the people it affects, and that is why it is vitally important that it is dealt with.

What is not classed as anti-social behaviour?

Some things are not anti-social behaviour and the police won't be able to help. These include:

  • Children playing outside
  • Personal differences and civil disputes such as land and boundary issues
  • On-street parking which is not casuing an obstuction.

Where police cannot resolve the matter, other agencies including the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, local councils and housing authorities have a big role to play, which is why we all work together to tackle them. Local Community Safety Partnerships are in place to ensure that your problems and concerns about anti-social behaviour are heard and tackled in your area.

Due to the work we have already done, the residents of Cheshire are feeling more confident about reporting anti-social behaviour, because they believe something will be done.

Why is anti-social behaviour a problem?

Anti-social behaviour makes life unpleasant, and creates a climate of fear for the community. Often more serious crime can occur as a result of anti-social behaviour.

How we deal with anti-social behaviour

When we receive a call about anti-social behaviour, we may not send an officer straight away, as can often be the case with anti-social behaviour, the problem has stopped by the time the call has been made. In some cases we do attend straight away. In other cases, an appointment is made for a local beat officer to visit at a later time. People can also arrange to meet officers at their local police station.

Our Police Community Support Officers and council staff target anti-social behaviour in local parks and other public open spaces. Joint patrols, set up with youth services, lead to the seizure of alcohol from young people. Youth workers engage those involved, getting them signed up to activities that divert them away from causing trouble.

Where the behaviour is of a more serious nature, formal enforcement such as Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs) and Civil Injunctions (which recently replaced the ASBO) will be considered. This involves a variety of people from different organisations working with victims to record and collect evidence of the offending behaviour.

Restorative justice

Common sense policing can also be used in the form of restorative justice. This means that the offender can meet the victim in an arranged situation to discuss the crime, why it took place and how it made the offender and victim feel. This encourages the offender to acknowledge the impact of what their actions have done, whilst offering the victim some closure and the opportunity to make the offender aware of the personal harm they have caused.