Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

  (Redirected from Public space protection order)

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (c. 12) is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that consolidated and expanded law enforcement powers in addressing anti-social behaviour. One significant aspect of the act is that it replaced anti-social behaviour orders, the primary civil order in the United Kingdom since 1998, with criminal behaviour orders.

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to make provision in connection with anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder, including provision about recovery of possession of dwelling-houses, to make provision amending the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the Police Act 1997, Schedules 7 and 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000, the Extradition Act 2003 and Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011; to make provision about firearms, about sexual harm and violence and about forced marriage; to make provision about the police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Serious Fraud Office (United Kingdom); to make provision about invalid travel documents; to make provision about criminal justice and court fees; and for connected purposes.
Citation2014 c. 12
Introduced byTheresa May (Commons)
John Taylor, Baron Taylor of Holbeach (Lords)
Territorial extentUnited Kingdom United Kingdom
Royal assent13 March 2014
Other legislation
RepealsAnti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 Pts 1 and 1A
Relates toDangerous Dogs Act 1991, the Police Act 1997, Schedules 7 and 8 of the Terrorism Act 2000, the Extradition Act 2003 and Part 3 of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011
Status: Current legislation
Text of statute as originally enacted
Text of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from


In 2012, the government produced a white paper titled Putting victims first: more effective responses to anti-social behaviour, that outlined its intentions about reforming anti-social behaviour legislation. The white paper stated that it wanted to challenge "dangerous and yobbish behaviour of those who make victims’ lives a misery".[1] The 2013 government paper, Reform of Anti-Social Behaviour Powers: Groups ‘Hanging Around’ mentioned specifically targeting certain types of youths behaviour. It mentioned that the government acknowledged that youths ‘hanging about’ might cause people to feel intimidated and fear for their safety regardless if their behaviour was anti-social.[2] Government publications also revealed it was eager to deal with concerns about the perceived anti-social behaviour of people who are drunks, beggars, and irresponsible dog owners.[1][2][3]

Putting victims firstEdit

The focus for the act was on putting victims first, and the powers are designed to be quicker to implement so that victims get respite from anti-social behaviour faster. With the exception of the criminal behaviour order, the remainder can be processed through the civil courts which allows for a lower burden of proof and thus makes it easier for agencies to obtain. The act also set out an absolute possession enabling councils and housing associations to evict anti-social tenants already found guilty of anti-social behaviour.

To put victims first, there were also two measures introduced in this act to enable victims to have their say:

  1. Community remedy – whereby victims can have a say in what type of punishment would be appropriate for the offender (e.g. clean up graffiti)
  2. Anti-social behaviour case review – also called 'community trigger'. A victim can insist on a multi-agency review of their case if they have reported the problem three times in the past six months and yet the problem has not yet been resolved.


The focus of the Act was to streamline the tools and powers available to front-line agencies in dealing with anti-social behaviour. Previously there had been nineteen different powers, but these were reduced to a base of six.

The previous nineteen mechanisms were:[1]

  • Anti-social behaviour injunctions
  • Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)
  • Closure orders (known as S.161)
  • Crackhouse closure orders
  • Criminal anti-social behaviour orders (CrASBOs)
  • Designated public place orders
  • Direction to leave orders (known as S.27)
  • Disposal orders (known as S.30)
  • Dog control orders
  • Drinking banning orders
  • Drinking banning orders (on conviction)
  • Gating orders
  • Graffiti/defacement removal notices
  • Individual support orders
  • Intervention orders
  • Litter cleaning notices
  • Noisy premises closure orders
  • Premises closure orders
  • Street litter cleaning notices

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 consolidated them to:

The government produces statutory guidance about the use of the six new mechanisms. December 2017 is the latest revision of the guidance as of May 2018.[4]

Civil injunctionsEdit

Part 1 of the Act empowers specified organisations to apply to the courts for a civil injunction against anyone aged 10 or over for actual or threatened anti-social behaviour.[5] Suggested by the government is that civil injunctions might be used for aggressive begging, bullying, gangs, irresponsible dog ownership, noisy or abusive neighbours, public drunkenness, and vandalism.[4] The injunction is a civil rather than a criminal order. A civil injunction can either prohibit or require a person to refrain from activities mentioned in the order. A court has the discretion if to include a power of arrest for breaches of the injunction. Breaches of an injunction are treated as contempt of court.[5] Statutory government guidance provides four tests for using a civil injunction. On the balance of probabilities, the behaviour must be likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress (non-housing related anti-social behaviour); or conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance (housing-related anti-social behaviour); and just and convenient to grant the injunction to prevent anti-social behaviour.[4]

Criminal behaviour ordersEdit

Dispersal powersEdit

Part 3 of the Act covers police powers permitting the dispersal of people. The powers of dispersal require the authorisation of a police officer at least the rank of inspector. The act only allows authorising dispersal powers when members of the public in the locality are being harassed, alarmed or distressed, or when there is localised crime and disorder. The authorisation is limited to forty-eight hours.[5] Authorising officers should consider the principles of the Human Rights Act.[5] The statutory Government guidance requires consideration of the impact of vulnerable people, the displacement of the problems elsewhere, and if working in partnership with other agencies might provide a longer-term solution.[4]

When authorised to do so, police officers and police community support officers, if permitted by their chief constable, can, in writing when feasible, direct a person to leave a geographical area and not return for a defined time period.[5] The exceptions are people under ten years old,[5] in which case if they are under sixteen the Children Act 2004 allows taking them to their home.[4] A direction should not be given that prevents a person from going to their home, their place of employment, where they are receiving education or training, places where they are receiving medical treatment or any place they are required to attend by a court. The power exists to seize any articles that are connected to the anti-social behaviour.[5] Failing to disperse or preventing the seizure of articles related to the anti-social behaviour is a criminal offence.[4]

Public spaces protection ordersEdit

PSPO warning sign in Knightsbridge, London

A public spaces protection order (PSPO) is an order which bans specific acts in a designated geographical area in England and Wales as set out in the act. It replaces the earlier designated public place orders, gating orders and dog control orders.[6]

PSPOs are intended to prevent specific acts which would not otherwise be criminal offences. They have been criticised as restricting freedoms and having a disproportionately severe effect on people below the poverty line.[7] As of December 2017, there were 388 active PSPOs in Wales alone.[8]

Research by The Manifesto Club found a 420% increase in PSPO fines from 2016 to 2018. In 2018 there were 9,930 fines issued, 60% of which were from four councils: Peterborough, Bedford, Hillingdon and Waltham Forest. These four councils use private contractors to issue the fines.[9]

Examples include:

Community protection notices and remedial ordersEdit

Part 4 of the Act introduced community protection notices and remedial orders. The aim of them was to challenge ongoing nuisance problems detrimental to a community's quality of life.[5] The use of community protection notices does not interfere with the obligation of local authorities to issue abatement notices for statutory nuisances.[4]

A person over the age of sixteen, an organisation or business can be issued a community protection notice.[5] The statutory guidance states that the vulnerability of a person should additionally be considered before issuing a notice.[4] Before a notice is issued they must receive written notice warning them about the problem they are causing, and issuing a notice is an option being considered. It is issued by either giving it to a person, organisation or business, leaving at their address, or posting it to them. Community protection notices have three potential purposes, to stop or make them do something, or take reasonable steps towards an outcome. What is expected of them is written on the notice.[5]

Failing to conform to a community protection notice is an offence.[5] The liability of a person, organisation or business for the offence is negated by payment of a fixed penalty notice up to the value of £100.[4][5] If a community protection notice is breached, a remedial order can be applied for at court.[5]

Closure notices and ordersEdit

Part 4 of the act empowers the issuing of closure notices and closure orders. Both notices and orders can be applied to residential and other premises. Issuing a closure notice is usually the first resort to dealing with a problem. Closure notices can be issued if either nuisance or disorder has, or may occur at the premises. The notice is in force for a maximum of forty-eight hours. A closure notice can bar any person from accessing the premises, except any residents. The penalty for breaching a notice upon conviction is a maximum of three months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine.[4]

Closure orders are usually issued in more serious instances. The criteria for issuing an order is that the premises must be connected to disorderly, offensive, or criminal behaviour, or disorderly behaviour in the near vicinity of it. It must be a serious nuisance to the public. An order can prohibit any person from entering the premises, including a resident. The maximum penalty for breaching a notice is up to six months imprisonment and an unlimited fine.[4]

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 created an offence of obstructing a person issuing an order or notice, officials entering the premises, or people securing it. The maximum penalty is three months imprisonment.[4] The act did no consolidate all closure powers, for example, closure of licensed premises under the Licensing Act 2003, or closure of premises used for prostitution under the Sexual Offences Act 2003.[5]

Additional offencesEdit

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 included several additional provisions:

  • Dangerous dogs
  • Firearms
  • Protection from sexual harm, including sexual risk orders
  • Child sexual exploitation in hotels
  • Violent offending
  • Forced marriages
  • Policing, including the National College of Policing, and complaints against the police
  • Extradition
  • Criminal justice and court fees

Sexual risk ordersEdit

The Act also created sexual risk orders, which can require suspects to give police advanced notification of intention to engage in sexual activities or face prison sentences. The SROs, requested by police, are issued by magistrates.[17]

Forced marriageEdit

The Act also created several new offences relating to forced marriage:

  • breaching a forced marriage protection order (amendment to the Family Law Act 1996)
  • causing a forced marriage, i.e. using threats, violence or other coercion (not necessarily against the victim) to cause a person to marry without their full and free consent (or any person who lacks capacity to consent even without coercion)
  • using deception to cause a person to leave the UK to enter into a forced marriage.

The latter two offences are defined separately for England and Wales and for Scotland. They apply to any marriage ceremony even if not legally binding.

Amendments of the Extradition Act 2003Edit

This bill also added a very important limitation to European Arrest Warrants, barring extradition in the "absence of prosecution decision" if there are reasonable grounds to believe, that the competent authorities in the country requesting the extradition have not made a decision to charge or have not made a decision to try the suspect. This amendment became famously known as "Lex Assange", because Julian Assange in fact never got charged in Sweden, but UK's highest courts still decided the extradition request to be legal.

Criticisms of the ActEdit

A general criticism of the Act was it interfered with the rights of young people, made them feel unable to use public places as they wish, even if their behaviour and activities are lawful.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Home Office (2012). "Putting Victims First: More Effective Responses to Anti-Social Behaviour. Command Paper 8367" (PDF). GOV.UK. p. 3. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b Home Office (2013). "Reform of Anti-social Behaviour Powers Groups 'Hanging Around'" (PDF). GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  3. ^ Home Office (2013). "Reform of Anti-social Behaviour Powers:Public and Open Spaces" (PDF). GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Home Office (2017). "Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014:Anti-social behaviour powers: Statutory guidance for frontline professionals" (PDF). GOV.UK. Retrieved 16 May 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Richard, Card (19 January 2017). Police law. English, J. (Jack) (Fifteenth ed.). Oxford. ISBN 9780198786801. OCLC 973732993.
  6. ^ "Public Space Protection Order - What you need to know" (PDF). Bristol City Council. June 2018. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  7. ^ Garrett, Bradley (8 September 2015). "PSPOs: the new control orders threatening our public spaces". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  8. ^ Wells, Ione (9 December 2017). "Public space orders "make innocent behaviour offences"". BBC. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  9. ^ "Huge increase in Public Spaces Protection Order fines". BBC News. 19 April 2019. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  10. ^ "Public anger mounts over Hackney Council's controversial PSPO". Hackney Citizen. 2 June 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  11. ^ "Newport rough sleeping ban rejected". BBC. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  12. ^ "Salford Council tries to outlaw swearing at the Quays". ITV News. 2 March 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  13. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (3 March 2016). "Greater Manchester Council ridiculed for Salford Quays swearing ban". The Independent. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  14. ^ Sharma, Sadhvi (4 March 2016). "A swearing ban? Piss off". Spiked Online. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  15. ^ Public Spaces Protection Order for Knightsbridge
  16. ^ Lamy, Joel (27 October 2017). "CLAMPDOWN: Thousands of fines for littering, spitting and cycling on Bridge Street in Peterborough". Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Man ordered to tell police if he plans to have sex". BBC News. 22 January 2016.
  18. ^ Johnstone, C (2016). "After the ASBO: Extending Control Over Young People's Use of Public Spaces in England and Wales" (PDF). Critical Social Policy. 36 (4): 716–726. doi:10.1177/0261018316651943.

External linksEdit