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Criminal behaviour orders

This content applies to England

Criminal behaviour orders are aimed at tackling serious and persistent antisocial behaviour. Breach of an order can lead to imprisonment and eviction.

A criminal behaviour order (CBO) is an order made in the criminal courts (ie Magistrates' court, Crown Court or Youth court) aimed at preventing antisocial behaviour by a person who has been convicted of any other criminal offence.[1]

CBOs were introduced, with effect from 20 October 2014.[2] CBOs replaced Anti-social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) 'on conviction', ie an ASBO that was made in addition to a sentence imposed in respect of a relevant offence,[3] see 'Transitional provisions' below.

Conditions

A CBO can be made only in addition to a sentence imposed against that person, or an order discharging such person conditionally, if the court:

  • is satisfied, beyond reasonable doubt, that such person has engaged in behaviour that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person,and
  • considers that the making of the CBO will help in preventing that person from engaging in such behaviour.

The fact that the first condition for making a CBO is satisfied does not mean that the court must necessarily make the order; it is a matter of judgment for the court to decide if the making of the CBO will help in preventing the perpetrator from engaging in antisocial behaviour and, although the court should proceed with caution because such orders 'are not lightly to be imposed', there is not need that the court satisfies itself 'beyond reasonable doubt', nor that the prosecution has any burden of proof in this respect. However, the mere fact that a perpetrator has a history of disobedience to court orders does not constitute a good reason for refusing to make the CBO.[4]

An application for a CBO does not require a direct link between the criminal behaviour which led to the person's conviction for the other criminal offence and the antisocial behaviour for it to be issued by the court.[5]

Prohibitions and positive requirements

A CBO can impose prohibitions on the behaviour of a person. It can also include a positive requirement aimed at getting a person to deal with the underlying cause of her/his antisocial behaviour, for example attending a drug misuse course.[6]

A court cannot refuse to make a CBO only because the order sought imposes only a prohibition (for example, from entering a certain area) and not a positive requirement (for example, to attend a alcohol misuse course) which, in view of the court, would help the perpetrator in addressing the underlying cause of her/his antisocial behaviour.[7]

Sanctions

Breach of a CBO is a criminal offence punishable with imprisonment and/or a fine.

In addition, breach of a CBO by a secure or assured tenant, or by someone living or visiting the tenant's property, can lead to eviction under the mandatory ground for antisocial behaviour (see the pages Mandatory ASB ground: secure tenancies and Mandatory ASB ground: Assured tenancies for more information).    

Transitional provisions

Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) 'on conviction' cannot be made after 20 October 2014. However, an ASBO made against an individual before that date continues to have effect, but it cannot be varied. On 20 October 2019 any ASBO still in force will be treated as an CBO.[8]

Guidance

The government has issued statutory guidance for frontline professionals and a series of fact sheets to explain the new antisocial behaviour measures and the changes introduced by the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[1] s.22 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[2] Art.3 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement No.7, Saving and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014 SI 2014/2590. 

[3] s.33 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; Art.4 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 (Commencement No.7, Saving and Transitional Provisions) Order 2014 SI 2014/2590.

[4] Director of Public Prosecutions v Bulmer [2015] EWHC 2323 (Admin).

[5] p29 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers, Home Office, July 2014.

[6] s.22(5) Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

[7] Director of Public Prosecutions v Bulmer [2015] EWHC 2323 (Admin).

[8] s.33 Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

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