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Anti-social behaviour

Antisocial behaviour is defined as 'behaviour by a person which causes, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to persons not of the same household as the person' (Antisocial Behaviour Act 2003 and Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011).

But what does this mean? Find out more about how we classify antisocial behaviour and the many activities that it covers in the information below.

What is antisocial behaviour?

There are three main categories for antisocial behaviour, depending on how many people are affected:

  • Personal antisocial behaviour is when a person targets a specific individual or group
  • Nuisance antisocial behaviour is when a person causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community
  • Environmental antisocial behaviour is when a person’s actions affect the wider environment, such as public spaces or buildings

Under these main headings antisocial behaviour falls into one of 13 different types:

1. Vehicle abandoned

This covers vehicles that appear to have been left by their owner, rather than stolen and abandoned. It includes scrap or ‘end of life’ vehicles and those damaged at the scene of a road traffic collision that have been abandoned and aren’t awaiting recovery.

2. Vehicle nuisance or inappropriate use

This relates to vehicles being used in acts such as street cruising (driving up and down the street causing annoyance and bothering other road users), vehicle convoys and riding or driving on land other than a road. It also covers the misuse of go-peds, motorised skateboards and electric-propelled cycles, and the unlicensed dealing of vehicles where a person has two or more vehicles on the same road within 500 metres of each other.

3. Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour

This refers to general nuisance behaviour in a public place or a place to which the public have access, such as private clubs. It does not include domestic-related behaviour, harassment or public disorder which should be reported as crimes.

4. Rowdy or nuisance neighbours

This covers any rowdy behaviour or general nuisance caused by neighbours, including boundary and parking disputes. It also covers noise nuisance from parties or playing loud music.

5. Littering or drugs paraphernalia

This includes fly posting and discarding litter, rubbish or drugs paraphernalia in any public place.

6. Animal problems

This covers any situation where animals are creating a nuisance or people’s behaviour associated with the use of animals is deemed as antisocial. It includes uncontrolled animals, stray dogs, barking, fouling and intimidation by an animal.

7. Trespassing

This is any situation in which people have entered land, water or premises without lawful authority or permission. It ranges from taking an unauthorised shortcut through a garden to setting up unauthorised campsites.

8. Nuisance calls

This covers any type of communication by phone that causes anxiety and annoyance, including silent calls and intrusive ‘cold calling’ from businesses. It does not cover indecent, threatening or offensive behaviour which should be reported as crimes.

9. Street drinking

This relates to unlicensed drinking in public spaces, where the behaviour of the persons involved is deemed as antisocial. It also covers unplanned and spontaneous parties which encroach on the street.

10. Prostitution-related activity

This relates to any activity involving prostitution such as loitering, displaying cards or promoting prostitution. It may also refer to activities in and around a brothel that impact on local residents. It does not include ‘kerb-crawling’ which should be reported as a crime.

11. Nuisance noise

This relates to all incidents of noise nuisance that do not involve neighbours (see ‘Nuisance neighbours’ above).

12. Begging

This covers anyone begging or asking for charitable donations in a public place, or encouraging a child to do so, without a license. Unlicensed ticket sellers at or near public transport hubs may also fall into this category.

13. Misuse of fireworks

This will include the inappropriate use of fireworks, the unlawful sale or possession of fireworks and noise created by fireworks.

What can you do?

Sort things out early. Many neighbour problems can be sorted out simply by talking to each other. Sometimes people do not know they are creating a nuisance. If a concern does not involve serious threats or violence, it may be best for you to discuss it with your neighbour in the first instance, before taking it further.

We would advise that you only do this if you feel confident in resolving the problem amicably. Remember, your safety is paramount and we would not suggest that you approach anyone who is known to be violent or aggressive.

How to report anti-social behaviour?

You can report anti-social behaviour to Wiltshire Police.

You can report noise disturbance.

If you are a Swindon Borough Council resident, there is also further guidance on the council's anti-social behaviour webpage.