Anti social behaviour (ASB) is currently a high profile issue. The majority of incidents reported in Pembrokeshire are rowdy and nuisance behaviour, often from neighbours. This behaviour can have a significant impact on the quality of life and cohesiveness of our communities. We work hard to tackle ASB on a multi agency basis, providing an effective and coordinated response based on prevention and early intervention. The general perception of young people in particular can be very negative. Education and prevention work helps to address these perceptions.
Pembrokeshire County Council and Dyfed Powys Police are leading organisations in Safer Pembrokeshire. The Partnership is made up of varying organisations to bring together expertise to help not only those affected by anti-social behaviour, but often those causing the problem as well.
Through taking a joint approach across the County we are able to share information across agencies under Section 115 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and the Data Protection Act 1998 which allows us to record, detect and prevent incidents of anti-social behaviour.
What is Anti-Social Behaviour?
Anti-Social Behaviour is any behaviour that causes any person harassment, alarm or distress. It is not easily possible to create a list of those things that could be termed ASB, however a rough guide would be to consider if the behaviour causing the harassment, alarm or distress is normal.
What should you do if you feel that you are suffering from the effects of anti-social behaviour?
Always remember you do not have to put up with it.
• You can talk to the person or people responsible. This may solve the problem, but only do this if you feel it is safe to do so.
• You can get outside help, depending on what the problem is, you can call the Council the Police or both.
• Keep a log of all acts of anti-social behaviour. This will help build up a detailed picture of the problem you are experiencing.
Who to contact if you are a victim of or witness to anti-social behaviour
If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour which involves someone being violent, threatening you with violence, damaging or threatening to damage your property, or being racially abusive, always contact the police on the new three digit, non-emergency police number 101.
In an emergency always dial 999
For noise nuisance, abandoned vehicles, dangerous dogs, dog fouling and fly/illegal tipping, please contact 01437 764551.
Responding to Anti-Social Behaviour
Depending on the kind of anti-social behaviour being reported, and to who, the matter may be quickly resolved or it may need further investigation to effectively address the situation. The case may be referred to the Dyfed Powys Anti-Social Behaviour Service (provided by Gwalia) who will work with partner agencies on a joint response to the problem.
There are many ways to address anti-social behaviour. Often people who are causing it need to be informed that they are being anti-social: this can happen by written warnings or meeting with them. If the problem continues they may be asked to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) or a Parenting Contract and in extreme cases application may be made for more formal orders. Other cases may lead to an eviction from their house or an arrest for harassment.
For further information on local authority housing issues please visit Neighbour disputes
For further information regarding control of dogs please visit Dog Control Service
The way we tackle ASB has changed. Anti-social behaviour powers were reformed in October 2014 meaning changes to the way we tackle ASB and the powers available. The new powers ensure that the victim is at the heart of the response to anti-social behaviour and that professionals have the flexibility needed to deal with the many different situations that ASB presents. As well as new powers, the reform includes the introduction of a new measure called ‘The Community Trigger.'
What is the Community Trigger?
The Community Trigger gives victims the ability to hold statutory agencies to account for the way they have tackled ASB.
When can you use the Community Trigger?
The Community Trigger can only be used when the threshold has been met. The threshold in Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Powys is:
• If an individual has reported anti-social behaviour to the council, police and/or a registered social landlord three times about separate incidents in the last six months; or
• If five individuals in the local community have reported similar incidents of anti-social behaviour separately to the council, police/registered social landlord in the last six months, and they consider no action has been taken; or
• If an individual has reported one incident or a crime motivated by hate* in the last three months to the council/police or registered social landlord and no action has been taken.
*Hate crime is defined as any criminal offence committed against a person or property that is motivated by hostility towards someone based on their actual or perceived disability, race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation, which is a factor in determining who is victimised. A victim does not have to be a member of a group and in fact, anyone could be a victim of hate crime.
Who can use the community trigger?
The Community Trigger can be used by any person on behalf of a victim, for example a family member, friend, carer, councillor, Welsh Assembly Member, Member of Parliament or other professional person as well as the victim. This is intended to ensure that all victims are able to use the Community Trigger. However, the victim's consent should be sought by the person using the Community Trigger on their behalf. The Community Trigger can be used by a person of any age.
How can you access the community trigger?
To request a Community Trigger call Dyfed Powys Police on 101 for an application form.
How will cases be reviewed?
When a request to use the Community Trigger is received, agencies will decide whether the threshold has been met and communicate this to the victim. If the threshold is met, a case review will be undertaken by partner agencies that will share information related to the case, review what action has previously been taken and decide whether additional actions are possible.
Notification of whether an application has been successful or not will be received within 20 working days, where further actions are necessary an action plan will be discussed including timescales.
Can you appeal?
If an individual is not happy with the decision, they will have 28 days to make an appeal.
The Anti-social Behaviour Priority in the Single Integrated Plan has beneath it a number of Headline Actions which the Community Safety Partnership will take forward. These are;
• Address anti-social behaviour at an early stage
• Provide early intervention for young people to minimise the likelihood of them entering the criminal justice system
• Ensure vulnerable and repeat victims of ASB are identified and protected
• Monitor activity relating to community engagement with agencies
• Ensure partner agencies are aware of and effectively utilise the full range of tools and powers available to tackle ASB
What have we done over the last 12 months?
• 17 young people have been invited in for multi-agency early intervention meetings to discuss the impact of their anti-social behaviour on the community. Only seven of these have progressed to the Acceptable Behaviour Contract stage and out of these all are engaging well with no reported breaches to date
• Some young people from South Pembrokeshire involved in low level Anti Social Behaviour (ASB) were engaged in a residential intervention with the Youth Offending and Prevention Service, Fire Service and Police. This residential was based around consequences and community.
• The ASB Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC) process has also been successfully implemented in Pembrokeshire to further prioritise multi-agency intervention to support and protect vulnerable victims.
• The Neighbourhood Policing Teams and Youth Services regularly engage with young people to foster positive relationships and continue to integrate with their communities. The ASB Coordinator regularly meets with partner agencies to ensure everyone is aware of the range of tools and powers available. These meetings include regularly reviewing referral processes to ensure efficiency and effectiveness.