New powers to be introduced on 1 April 1999 will make persistent and serious anti social behaviour a criminal offence. The new provisions, which are part of the 1998 Criminal Justice Act, will be used to deter determined trouble makers who can terrorise streets and housing estates. The Association of Police Authorities said that local communities are placing a growing priority on the police taking a firm stand against all forms of disorder and emphasised the need for effective consultation with communities.
Anti Social Behaviour Orders against anyone who acts in an anti social way can be obtained by either the police or local authority applying to magistrates. The grounds for an order include causing harassment, alarm or distress. The orders are a new type of preventive measure and work in the same way as an injunction. A breech of the order is a criminal offence.
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