Antisocial behaviour (ASB) incidents have increased over the last three years. Police forces, councils and housing associations are reporting significant spikes in ASB cases – and these are not minor incidents. They are complex and serious cases causing real harm to many people. 45% of people say ASB is a problem where they live and 56% of those who had either been a victim of or a witness to ASB, did not report it to anyone. This suggests that the incidence and the negative effects of ASB are much higher than official statistics based on recorded cases recognise. (Data source: Taking Back our Communities - working together to make communities safer report, commissioned in 2021 by RESOLVE, a Centre of Excellence solely focused upon community safety and antisocial behaviour)
|CASE STUDY: Jessica contacted her landlord to raise an antisocial behaviour complaint. She had returned home to find Janice shouting and ranting outside the block in which they lived. Jessica sat in her car to avoid that. Janice approached her car, pulled her from it and assaulted her. Read the full case study and others here..
Recognising what ASB is and what ASB isn't can be difficult. What constitutes ASB is extremely subjective and whilst we have examples of behaviour, what you may consider to be antisocial behaviour another person may not. Have a look at our guides to help you identify ASB. Antisocial behaviour is a range of behaviours that can cause nuisance and annoyance or harm and distress to a person in their home, neighbourhood or community. It is a wide range of unacceptable activities such as:
- Noise nuisance including loud music, banging, DIY at unsocial hours, loud parties and frequent visitors at unsocial hours
- Household disputes including shouting, swearing and fighting
- Harassment and intimidation including intimidation through threats or actual violence, abusive behaviour aimed at causing distress or fear to certain people, e.g. elderly or disabled people, and verbal abuse
- Environmental antisocial behaviour including dumping rubbish, animal nuisance, including dog fouling and dogs barking, vandalism, property damage and graffiti, antisocial drinking, driving in an inconsiderate or careless way, for example, drivers congregating in an area for racing/car cruising, and arson (secondary fires).
There is a fine line between antisocial behaviour and neighbour disputes which can often begin over relatively minor inconveniences, such as parking. However, if they persist, they can potentially become antisocial behaviour.
Antisocial behaviour is not parking (including badly parked vehicles), children playing, neighbours doing DIY (at reasonable times of the day), groups of young people in the street or in parks unless they are being rowdy, abusive, causing damage or committing other crimes, noise caused by everyday living, religious or cultural practice, one-off parties, or general living noise.
It is important to keep a record of the incidents and the behaviours as this will be of great help in investigating the behaviour and tackling it. It can also help you to get some perspective on how often it happens. If you decide to take formal action at some stage, it can help others see an established pattern of nuisance over time.
Use our ASB diary to record events over a period of 14 continuous days. You can ask someone else (a neighbour or visitor) who witnesses the nuisance to sign the entry in the "names & addresses of any witnesses" column. Return your completed diary to your ASB team at your local authority. If you live in private accommodation, or if you live in a local authority or housing association property, return it to your housing officer.
For more suggestions on how to gather evidence visit the ASB Help website.
Antisocial behaviour can ruin lives and devastate communities. Reporting antisocial behaviour early on is important to prevent it from escalating.
The Local Authority, Social Housing Landlords & the police all have powers to deal with antisocial behaviour. It is important that on reporting anti-social behaviour to your local authority, police or housing provider that you detail the impact that it is having on your health and wellbeing being.
If the antisocial behaviour is serious, criminal or causing a risk to a person report it to the police in the first instance
- If it’s an emergency and the crime is still taking place, call 999 and ask for the police
- If it’s not an emergency, call the non-emergency number 101 instead.
- For more ways to report to the police, see our reporting page.
Secondly, contact either the Local Authority or your Social Housing Landlord
- If you are a tenant or a leaseholder of a Social Housing Landlord, contact your landlord to report the issues. Landlords should take complaints seriously and act professionally. If you ask, they must publish and provide documents that set out the types of behaviours they can help to tackle. Your landlord should clarify what information they need from you and what help they can provide and keep you updated until your case has been closed. They should also tell you about the help available from other agencies with different powers and responsibilities, such as your local authority or the police, and support you to approach them. They should also put you in touch with services such as Mediation and Victim Support if needed.
- If you are in private rented accommodation or a homeowner, contact your local authority who will have dedicated personnel who deal with antisocial behaviour.
If the antisocial behaviour is not serious, criminal or causing a risk to a person, you should contact either the Local Authority or your Social Housing Landlord in the first instance, then the police.
If you are unsure who to report to ASB Help provides a useful Act Now! online interactive guide that takes you through a series of questions to show you who you should contact.