Anti-social behaviour powers and young adults: Practitioners' accounts

Matt Ford, Roger Grimshaw and Helen Mills, with Neala Hickey
Wednesday, 18 July 2018

This briefing draws on interviews with 40 anti-social behaviour practitioners working in councils or the police to learn more about these practitioners’ approaches to young adults.

It covers issues from the recognition of young adults in the workload to practitioners’ experiences of compliance with this age group.

It also provides eight practitioners’ accounts of what happened as a result of their using ASB powers to sanction behaviour particularly pertinent to young adults. The behaviours covered in these examples include nuisance behaviours related to car racing, legal highs and street drinking. 


The briefing covers three of the six anti-social behaviour (ASB) powers in operation (dispersal powers, community protection notices and public spaces protection orders). All are powers mainly concerned with sanctioning behaviour in public places. A wide range of behaviours have been targeted by these powers, including street drinking, car racing and begging.

The powers covered by this briefing have their origins in ASB strategies which have been in operation for two decades. The ASB framework was the subject of a significant overhaul in 2014, one result of which was the creation of new mechanisms for the potentially much more extensive use of ASB responses by councils, housing providers and the police.

Future implications

The report identifies several areas for future action including identifying how young adults themselves can best be involved in dialogue about nuisance behaviour, and for the consequences of using ASB tools to be rigorously assessed and held to account in the future.

Further information

This publication sits alongside Anti-social behaviour powers and young adults: The data which looks at the available data about the number of young adults being sanctioned in relation to the three powers.

We are grateful to the Barrow Cadbury Trust for supporting this project.