Anti-social behaviour is defined in the Crime and Disorder Act
(1998) as acting ‘in a manner that caused or was likely to cause
harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the
same household as the perpetrator.’ This definition includes
low-level public order offences and other offences which are
notifiable crimes and therefore beyond the remit of National
Incident Standard Recording and Assessment (NSIRA).
A more appropriate definition of anti-social
behaviour for the purposes of incident recording is provided by the
Housing Act (1996): ‘Engaging in or threatening to engage in
conduct causing or likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to
persons engaged in lawful activities’.
- ‘Personal’ is designed
to identify incidents that are deliberately targeted at a
particular individual or specific group or aimed at having an
impact on a particular individual or specific group rather than the
community at large;
‘Nuisance’ captures those incidents where an
individual or group causes trouble, annoyance, inconvenience,
offence or suffering to people in the local community in general
rather than being deliberately targeted at specific individuals or
- ‘Environmental’ deals
with the interface between people and places. It includes incidents
and inconsiderate actions which have an impact on the surroundings
including the natural, built and social environments. This category
is about encouraging reasonable behaviour whilst managing and
protecting various environments so that people can enjoy their own
private spaces as well as shared or public
Bedford Borough Community Safety Partnership
(CSP) is a joint partnership between the Responsible Authorities
consisting of Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Police,
Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Bedfordshire Probation Trust
and Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group who work together to
tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our
communities. These agencies have a duty to come together and
work with other groups, organisations and agencies to prevent crime
and disorder. The CSP was formed in response to the Crime and
Disorder Act 1998 as a statutory requirement.
The Act also requires each CSP Strategy Group
of Responsible Authorities to produce an annual Crime and Disorder
Strategic Assessment to identify key crime and disorder issues that
affect Bedford Borough.
A CSP Strategic Assessment was carried out in
October 2015 where ASB was identified as one of five emerging
themes. This is a continuation from the previous year’s assessment
and ASB has been adopted as a CSP priority within the CSP plan
Links to the current CSP Strategic Assessment
and CSP plan can be found at the end of this chapter.
Facts. figures and trends
The Borough has a population of 163,900 (2014)
which has grown by approximately 11% since 2001. Much of that
growth has occurred in the rural parishes bordering the urban area
where there are several major residential developments underway,
including the large new community of Wixams.
n the period Oct 2014 to Sep 2015,
Bedfordshire Police received 6298 reported incidents of ASB. This
compares to 5322 incidents in the same period in the previous year,
an increase of 18.3% (976 Incidents).
- 73.8% of the increase between
2013/14 and 2014/15 can be attributed to Nuisance ASB.
- Whilst reports of Personal
ASB increased overall by 171 incidents, reductions were achieved in
the areas of both high and medium risk.
- ASB is also reported directly
to the Council through the Borough’s Council dedicated ASB Officer
within the Community Safety Team. The period Oct 14 – Sep 15 saw a
61.5% increase in new cases in the same period.
ASB is also reported directly to the Council
through the Borough’s Council dedicated ASB Officer within the
Community Safety Team. The period Oct 14 – Sep 15 saw a 61.5%
increase in new cases in the same period.
A change in recording standards introduced by
Bedfordshire Police in September 2014 may be one factor that has
led to the increase, this hypothesis is supported by the
disproportionate increase in low level nuisance ASB which would
previously not have been recorded, whilst levels of high and medium
risk incidents reduced.
Increased community awareness and confidence
may also be responsible for the higher rate of incidents.
Partnership events such as Community Impact Days and police led
Operation Vision events have focused heavily on ASB over the last
ASB reporting tends to follow a distinctive pattern with
increased reporting through the lighter and warmer months, and
around school holidays. This pattern is consistent with analysis
undertaken in previous assessments.
- 45.3% of all reported ASB
took place between 15:00 – 22:00
- 32.6% of ASB incidents were
reported on a Saturday or Sunday
Within the 3 broad categories ASB can be
subdivided into more meaningful classifications that give details
about the nature of the event. Each incident is allocated the
classification that best describes the event but it must be
accepted that on occasions more than one issue may be present. It
is therefore down to the call handler to allocate the most
applicable class to each incident.
Over the 12 months incidents were divided into
45 classifications, the table below shows the top 5 recorded in the
period. These 5 classifications account for over 75% of all ASB in
All ASB - Initial Class (top
Rowdy or Inconsiderate Behaviour
Abandoned Vehicle Not Stolen
A number of markers are attached to the
incident to give further details about the individuals involved.
More than one marker can be applied to an incident.
- 16.5% of ASB incidents have a
marker that indicates the event is Youth Related, 1036 in the
- 13.6% of ASB incidents have a
marker that indicates the event was Alcohol Related, 853 for the
Youth and alcohol related ASB are looked at in
more detail within the CSP Strategic Assessment. Links to this
document are at the end of this chapter.
All the top 5 wards for total ASB are Urban.
Castle ward, which includes Bedford Town Centre, accounts for
18.57% of all ASB and the top five collectively just under half of
all the ASB incident reports received by the police in the year.
These five areas are consistent with last year’s report.
ASB by Ward (top 5)
In a a recent Community Consultation exercise, 72% of residents
identified that crime and anti-social behaviour in the Borough had
"Stayed the same" or "improved". This is an increase on the
results of the previous year (66%), 19% identifying that it had got
worse (9% replied with no opinion or don't know).
"Thinking about your local area, 15-20 minutes walk from
where you live, how has crime and anti-social behaviour changed
over the past year?"
Within the same consultation exercise, 71% of
recipients listed ASB as one of their top three community safety
issues. This was the highest scoring issue identified in the
All cases of ASB managed by the Borough’s ASB
Officer were regularly risk assessed. In the period Oct 2014 – Sep
2015, 100% of cases assessed as high, medium and low risk
categories recorded a reduction in risk in a 6 month period.
Current activities and
Day to day reports are mostly dealt with
through the police using the 101 system. In addition to this there
is an option to contact Council services including councillors, the
ASB team, Environmental Health team, rubbish or fly tipping ‘on
line’ or via the Council’s Contact Centre. Communities can also
contact a range of voluntary organisations for help and support and
access their details via the ‘on line’ family support database.
Victims of ASB can also seek advice about
issues with their GP or other health support services.
Anti-Social Behaviour Management
The ASB Management Group (ASBMG) operates as a
risk assessment conference where agencies can discuss and share
information relating to specific higher risk victims of ASB. The
group has been operating in the Borough since July 2012, with 108
cases discussed to date. In the period Oct 2014 – Sep 2015, 27
cases have been brought to the group which is an increase from the
previous year (22).
The ASBMG membership includes members from
Adult and Child Safeguarding to ensure that appropriate referrals
are made using both Safeguarding of Vulnerable Adults (SOVA) and
Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) practice and procedures where
needed. A proportion of victims and offenders on the ASBMG caseload
demonstrate signs of having health (including mental health) needs
and by using the SOVA route into Health Services the relevant
checks can be made and needs assessed.
The group aims to reduce the risk of harm for
each victim and offers the support of a Vulnerable Victim
Caseworker to help victims cope with some of the issues. The type
of support offered includes practical and emotional help including
making appointments with their GP, CAB, drug & alcohol
services, accommodation services or just listening and advising,
keeping them updated with a case and offering mediation with
neighbours if needed.
Cases referred to the ASB Management Group
suggest that very few high risk victims are targeted by youths
specifically, whereas geographic areas experience elevated levels
of incidents. This suggests youth related disorder is focused
in specific areas rather than against specific individuals.
Victim Support ASB Vulnerable Victims
This is a dedicated role that is based within
the Community Safety Team at the Borough to offer practical and
emotional support to victims of ASB. The service looks to support
victims of repeat offences, individuals with learning disabilities
and mental health needs.
In the period between Oct 2014 and Sep 2015
the case worker opened 42 cases, an increase of 68% on the previous
National & Local
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing
Act 2014 brought significant changes to the way local authorities
can respond to anti-social behaviour (ASB), introducing new tools
and powers to replace existing provisions, including the
introduction of ASB case reviews, also known as the ‘community
Results from the Crime Survey for England and
Wales 2014 suggest that 28% of the population have experienced ASB
in their local area. Applied to the Borough’s population this would
be 45,892 people. However what is understood by the term ASB can be
confusing. Often the boundaries between crime and disorder are not
clear to the victim.
What is this telling us?
- Older people (particularly women)
are more likely to worry about ASB and crime. Between 2001 and
2014, the Borough’s population aged 85+ increased by 45% and is
projected to increase by a further 32% between 2014 and 2021
compared to 7% across the total population.
- There are specific locations where ASB levels
are consistently higher. These include the Town Centre and Castle,
Harpur, Goldington and Kingsbrook Wards. The CSP will concentrate
its community engagement in these areas.
- 16.5% of ASB incidents are recorded as being
youth related and 13.6% involving alcohol (but not together). The
CSP Strategic Assessment suggests that youth related disorder is
focused in specific areas rather than against specific individuals
and is not as prominent as ASB committed by adults. The Town Centre
is a focus for ASB in relation to the night time economy and
alcohol related ASB and crime. The delivery of the Alcohol Strategy
is helping to tackle alcohol related issues and has a dedicated
group in place to address Street Drinking.
- The level of victim vulnerability reduces
when 1 to 1 support is given such as attending appointments,
filling out forms, talking on the phone, and signposting to other
support agencies. Work with Victim Support to sustain this service
over 2015 - 2016 will be progressed.
What are the key
Using data from a survey of 10,000 victims of
anti-social behaviour, carried out in 2012, a research team led by
Professor Martin Innes (Director of UPSI and Deputy Director at the
Cardiff School of Social Sciences) has profiled victims’
vulnerabilities in order to better understand how, why and where
certain disorder incidents occur, and their effects on the
The research found that the risk of harm for
ASB victims depended upon three factors: the nature of the ASB and
whether it was personally targeted, victim personal characteristics
such as their health, and the make-up of their local
National research identifies that individuals
with physical disabilities and those with mental health issues are
more likely to be victims of ASB
See Bedford CSP Strategic Assessment
This chapter links to the following
chapters in the JSNA:
Personal, Situational and Incidental
Vulnerabilities to ASB Harm: a follow up study.
Dr Helen Innes & Professor Martin Innes -
A report to Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of
Constabulary, January 2013 (available at:
last accessed 20 January 2013)
Follow the Bedford Borough Council Website
link below for the following documents:
- Bedford Community Safety Plan
2014 – 2017
- Bedford CSP Community Survey
- Bedford Borough Anti-Social
- Bedford CSP Strategic
- Bedford Borough Alcohol
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