An ASBO, or anti-social behaviour order, is a statutory measure to protect the public against behaviour ‘that causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress’ to an individual householder or a neighbourhood. It is applicable to anyone over the age of 10 years old and breach of the order is a criminal offence, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

An ASBO is a community-based civil order that can be applied for through the civil courts by local authorities, police forces and registered social landlords and involves the local community in both collecting the evidence and in helping to monitor breaches. Those reporting or subjected to anti-social behaviour are thereby protected.

An ASBO is effective for a minimum of two years and can prohibit an offender from activities such as:
  • committing specific anti-social acts
  • entering defined areas
  • associating with named offenders
  • entering the vicinity of a household where they have caused problems