Lords concludes scrutiny of Anti-Social Behaviour Bill

12 March 2014

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill returned to the House of Lords on Tuesday 11 March for consideration of Commons' amendments.

Members of the Lords discussed compensation for miscarriages of justice. Lord Pannick (Crossbench), repeated concerns raised at report stage about the practical implications of the proposed new criteria for compensation awards. He looked to reinstate an amendment, rejected by the Commons, to adjust the requirements, awarding compensation in cases where evidence 'is so undermined that no conviction should be based on it'. It was taken to a vote with members voting 214 in favour and 253 against, so the change was not made to the bill.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill has now completed its passage through Parliament. It is expected to receive royal assent and become law on Thursday 20 March.

Lords third reading: Monday 27 January 2013

Members of the Lords discussed a government amendment extending protection against 'nuisance and annoyance' to cover all housing settings, rather than just social housing. The change was agreed to without a vote. Other issues considered included the new offence of forced marriage, with the government confirming its commitment to engage with affected communities and develop an information programme to help and support victims.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill report stage day four: Wednesday 22 January

Members of the Lords began by discussing compensation for miscarriages of justice. Several members spoke of the need for a clear definition, or test, before compensation is made, and argued against the requirement for 'a new or newly discovered fact', proving innocence beyond all reasonable doubt. An amendment to adjust the test, awarding compensation in cases where evidence 'is so undermined that no conviction should be based on it', was taken to a vote. Members voted 245 in favour and 222 against, so the change was made.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill report stage day three: Monday 20 January

Peers began by considering an amendment to allow local councils and planning authorities to retain the power to ensure new developments provide adequate security standards - promoting crime reduction and preventing anti-social behaviour. The amendment was taken to a vote with 179 in favour and 230 against, so the change was not made.

A proposal to make long-term covert police operations subject to independent approval also went to a vote. Members voted 165 in favour and 241 against, so the change was not made.   

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill report stage day two: Tuesday 14 January

Members of the Lords discussed plans within the bill to make a conviction for rioting anywhere in the UK grounds for eviction. Several members warned of the possible disproportionate impact of the extension of eviction powers on family members, especially children. A suggestion to remove the extension went to a vote, with 215 in favour and 248 against, so the clause remains.

The question of assessing public safety when issuing firearms licences was also considered. An amendment to increase the effectiveness of background checks, with specific reference to cases where there is a history of domestic violence or violent content, was taken to a vote. Members voted 172 in favour and 227 against, so the change was not made.

Members went on to discuss the creation of a specific offence of assault on workers in a public-facing role. It was argued that current legislation too often leads to cases of common assault, which has a low prosecution rate and does not reflect the seriousness of the crime. The proposal for a new offence went to a vote with 137 in favour and 195 against, so the change was not made.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill report stage day one: Wednesday 8 January

Members of the Lords considered plans to replace anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), with new injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance (IPNAs). The proposals sought to replace the existing definition of anti-social behavior as conduct causing 'harassment, alarm or distress', with a new threshold test of 'nuisance and annoyance'. Many members warned the new definition is too imprecise and could threaten civil liberties. The potential for IPNAs to increase the burden on the criminal justice system was also discussed.

An amendment to reject the proposals and tighten the definition of the threshold test was taken to a vote, with 306 in favour and 178 against.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day six: Wednesday 11 December

Members of the Lords discussed suggested changes to the Terrorism Act 2000, particularly issues around police stop and search powers at ports and airports, and how these powers affect civil liberties and national security.

They also looked at amendments covering powers to seize invalid passports and court and tribunal fees.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day five: Wednesday 4 December

Members of the Lords discussed firearms licensing issues, including the factors that need to be taken into account when assessing the potential risk to public safety. They went on to examine a proposal to make assaults on workers in public facing roles a specific offence. Measures to tighten regulations on the sale of psychoactive substances and a call for a review of the effect of legal highs on anti-social behaviour were also considered.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day five: Monday 2 December

Members of the Lords discussed several amendments covering the closure of premises associated with nuisance or disorder. The role of local government and planning authorities in ensuring security standards in new developments was considered. Members also examined a proposal making it an offence for an owner or the person in charge of a dog not to keep it under control in a public place - even if muzzled or on a lead.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day four: Monday 25 November

Members of the Lords discussed public space protection orders (PSPOs) and how much time should be granted for payment of fixed penalty notices issued for violations of the order. Concern was raised about the period of time covered by PSPOs - current proposals suggest up to three years, with the option of renewal - and the potential for them to become permanent restrictions on public spaces.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day three: Wednesday 20 November

Members of the Lords considered proposals for a new injunction to replace anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs), specifically new powers to exclude a person from their home in cases of violence or where others are at risk of being harmed. The need to involve local youth offending teams before an injunction is sought against anyone under 18 was raised by several members.

Other suggestions included a new civil penalty covering littering from vehicles and the introduction of a corporate anti-social behaviour order, granting authorities power to close premises that cause harassment, alarm or distress within communities.  

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day two: Monday 18 November

Members of the Lords began by discussing proposals to abolish anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) and introduce injunctions for the prevention of nuisance and annoyance. The planned civil injunctions could be taken out on people from the age of ten - the question of whether this was appropriate and how it links to the current age of criminal responsibility was considered.  

Protection for victims of anti-social behaviour, powers of arrest under the new injunction procedure and the role of police and crime commissioners in determining a local strategy to deal with anti-social behaviour were also considered.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill committee stage day one: Tuesday 12 November

Members of the Lords discussed a series of suggested changes to the law covering forced marriage, including the criminalisation of a breach of a forced marriage order. Several members called for the government to publish guidance on the measures, and for consistency across the country in the way guidance is given by airport security staff and immigration officials.

The question of whether criminalisation was the right course was also raised as members, whilst welcoming moves to tackle the issue, warned against the potential unforeseen circumstances of a new forced marriage offence.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill second reading: Tuesday 29 October

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office, Lord Taylor of Holbeach (Conservative), opened the debate. He introduced the bill, explaining it seeks to extend existing statutory powers to deal with anti-social behaviour and protect victims and communities.

Many members welcomed specific measures contained within the bill - including those dealing with illegal firearms, forced marriages and an extension of the Dangerous Dogs Act to cover dog attacks that take place on private property. Proposals to strengthen the Independent Police Complaints Commission also received broad support.

The debate also drew attention to present omissions - including the issue of drugs and legal highs, measures to prevent attacks on those working in public-facing roles and the role of private sector companies in carrying out extradition orders.

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill summary

The bill seeks to reform the law around anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder, including measures covering:

  • recovery of possession of dwelling houses
  • firearms
  • forced marriage
  • the police, the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Serious Fraud Office
  • criminal justice and court fees.

It also seeks to make amendments to the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, Schedules 7 and 8 to the Terrorism Act 2000 and the Extradition Act 2003.

Further information

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