Antisocial behaviour is a phrase that came to the fore particularly for Tony Blair’s 2005 election campaign, albeit the terminology had been used in the mainstream for many years before that.
Antisocial behaviour is deemed to be under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as ‘an anti-social manner, that is to say, a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons’. There are a huge range of acts that qualify as antisocial including abusive verbal behaviour, harassment, intimidation, threatening behaviour, vandalism, graffiti, drug and alcohol abuse to name but a few.
Local government agencies work together with the local constabulary with a view to dealing with instances of antisocial behaviour. In cooperation, both parties aim is to reduce the impact on local citizens by proactive and reactive means. Local authorities have specific departments set up to combat the types of offences that affect the community the most. It is not only local government that have a need to combat anti-social offences. Housing associations are also required to operate an antisocial behaviour policy for their residents.
Although local authorities have specific teams set up to gather evidence in problem areas they often require outside specialist assistance to operate outside their normal mode of expertise or may need additional help due to case load. Housing associations do not generally have specific departments set up to evidence gather and as such rely on outside agencies to compile substantive evidence for an ASBO application.
Mission Investigations has previously worked with both local authority audit and investigation departments and also housing associations in relation to gathering evidence of antisocial behaviour. Using electronic and staffed surveillance techniques successful investigations have been completed in relation to harassment, intimidation, vandalism and drug/alcohol abuse affecting particularly inner-city deprived areas. Often working in difficult circumstances, operatives from Mission Investigations were able to gather enough substantive evidence to justify an ASBO being granted against the offenders.