Anti-social Behaviour and Noise
The Anti–social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 updated a number of powers relating to the control and prevention of anti-social behaviour; some of which may be useful with respect to noise control. Those with responsibilities to protect communities against unreasonable levels of noise, including the police, local authorities and, in some circumstances, housing associations are regularly applying the laws in practice. Here is a quick summary of the main enforcement powers.
Injunctions can be placed on a person aged 10 or over if, on the balance of probabilities the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in anti-social behaviour (and if the court thinks it is convenient and just to grant the injunction for prevention purposes).
In the context of applications by housing providers (or local authorities exercising similar housing management functions) anti-social behaviour is “conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person”. In any other case it will be conduct that “has caused, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to any person”.
The injunction may include wide ranging prohibitions or requirements. Applications may be made by a number of authorities including: local authorities, housing providers, police, Transport for London and Environment Agency.
CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR ORDERS
Criminal behaviour orders may be made by a court where a person is convicted an offence and where the offender has caused, or was likely to cause, alarm or distress to any person. Again, it is intended as a preventative tool. The application will be made by the prosecution.
COMMUNITY PROTECTION NOTICES
Community protection notices may be issued by an authorised person to an individual (aged 16 or over) or a body if it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:
(a) the conduct of the individual or body is having a detrimental effect, of a persistent or continuing nature, on the quality of life of those in the locality, and
(b) the conduct is unreasonable.
The notice may include requirements aimed at preventing or reducing continued or recurring detrimental effects. The authorised person must follow a warning process, and only after which may the notice be issued if the recipient’s conduct is still having the effect.
Grounds of appeal in the case of a CPN include that the conduct specified has not been of a persistent or continuing nature, is not unreasonable or has not had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. Failure to comply with a notice is an offence. A person guilty of an offence is liable to a fine of up to £2500 (in the case of an individual). However, there is also a fixed penalty procedure involving a specified amount of no more than £100 (with provision for an early payment discount).
In the case of CPNs authorised persons include constables, local authorities and persons designated by local authorities.
Guidance on the anti-social behaviour powers and noise
Guidance for front line officers on the new ASB powers has been published by the Secretary of State.
The guidance is in two parts: the first provides some outline to the Community Trigger (trialed in a number of local authorities recently); and the second provides an outline of the new powers and interventions contained in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Within the text there is an explanation of how Community Protection Notices fit with the existing statutory nuisance regime. It is clear that the statutory nuisance regime remains the first port-of-call. However, the new powers clearly fill in a few gaps in the intervention tool-box.
We have some more detail on the anti-social behaviour powers and noise in our members’ area.