House of Lords - Explanatory Note
Anti-Social Behaviour Bill - continued          House of Lords

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Clause 61: Power to remove trespassers: alternative site available

     142.     This clause inserts a new section 62A into the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 so as to create a new power for a senior police officer to direct a person to leave land and remove any vehicle or other property with him on that land. Subsection (2) sets out the conditions that the senior police officer must believe to be satisfied for a direction to leave the land to be given to a person. At least two persons must be trespassing on land; they must have between them at least one vehicle; they must be present on the land with the intent of residing there; and the occupier of the land must have asked the police to remove them. In addition, it must appear to the senior police officer that there are relevant caravan sites available for the trespassers to move to. Subsections (5) and (6) enable the Secretary of State to make an order subject to the negative resolution procedure to change the definition of 'relevant site manager'.

Clause 62: Failure to comply with direction: offences

     143.     This clause inserts a new section 62B into the 1994 Act. Its effect is that a person commits an offence if he fails to comply with a direction given under section 62A, or if, within 3 months of the direction being given, he returns to any land in the area of the relevant local authority as a trespasser with the intention of residing there. The maximum penalty is 3 months imprisonment or a level 4 fine. Subsection (5) provides a defence to this offence if the accused was not a trespasser, or had a reasonable excuse for failing to leave or returning to relevant land, or was under 18 and living with his parent or guardian when the direction under section 62A was given.

Clause 63: Failure to comply with direction: seizure

     144.     This clause inserts a new section 62C into the 1994 Act. This provides the power for a constable to seize and remove a vehicle, if he reasonably suspects that the person who owns or controls the vehicle has committed an offence under Section 62B, and the offence relates to the vehicle in question.

Clause 64 and 65: Common land: modifications and interpretation

145.     New section 62D of the 1994 Act (inserted by clause 64) makes necessary modifications to new sections 62A to 62C of the 1994 Act in their application to common land. New section 62E of the 1994 Act (inserted by clause 65) provides for the interpretation of terms used in new sections 62A to 62D of the 1994 Act. Unlike the existing powers in section 61 of the 1994 Act, the definition of "land" includes roads.

PART 9 :GENERAL

Clause 70: Extent

146.     This clause provides that Part 6 and Part 9 of the Bill extend to England and Wales, and Scotland. The rest of the Bill extends to England and Wales only.

SCHEDULES

Schedule 1: Demoted Tenancies

     147.     Schedule 1 makes amendments to the Housing Acts 1985 and 1996 relating to demoted tenancies.

148.     Paragraph 1 inserts new Chapter 1A into Part 5 of the Housing Act 1996. New section 143A of the Housing Act 1996 sets out the conditions for a demoted tenancy to which new Chapter 1A applies:

?     the landlord must be a local housing authority or housing action trust;

?     the tenant must occupy the dwelling-house as his only or principal home, or, where there are joint tenants, that each is an individual and at least one of them occupies the dwelling-house as his only or principal home; and

?     the tenancy must have been created by a demotion order.

New section 143B sets out the duration of a demoted tenancy. A demoted tenancy will normally remain a demoted tenancy for one year, at which point it will become a secure tenancy. However, if the landlord issues a notice of proceedings for possession during the first 12 months of the demoted tenancy, the tenancy will remain a demoted tenancy beyond the initial 12-month period until one of the events in subsection 143B(4) occurs. Specific provisions also apply if either of the first and second conditions in section 143A is no longer satisfied or the tenant dies. For example, if the tenant no longer occupies the property as his only or principal home, it will cease to be a demoted tenancy and will become a non-secure public sector tenancy which may be ended by a notice to quit.

149.     New section 143C makes provision for a change in the status of a demoted tenancy if, during the demotion period, the landlord's interest in the housing stock of which the dwelling-house forms part is transferred and the new landlord is neither a local housing authority nor a housing action trust (HATs). New sections 143D to 143F describe the process by which a demoted tenancy can be ended. The court must award possession, unless the landlord has failed properly to follow the procedure set out in sections 143E to 143F. The procedure is similar to that for ending introductory tenancies as set out in the Housing Act 1996.

150.     The landlord must first serve a notice of proceedings on the tenant. The notice must contain the information prescribed in subsections 143E(2) and (5). The court will not hear proceedings begun on or before the date specified in the notice.

151.     New section 143F requires the landlord to review a decision to seek possession if asked to do so by the tenant within 14 days from the date when the notice of proceedings for possession was served. The Secretary of State is given the power to make regulations with regard to the review procedure to be followed. After the review has taken place, the landlord must inform the tenant of its decision (giving reasons) before the date stated by the landlord's notice on which possession proceedings may be begun.

152.     New section 143G allows possession proceedings to be continued if, for example, there is a change of landlord. It also provides that a demoted tenant will not have the right to buy unless the proceedings are determined and the tenant is not required to give up possession. In this case the tenant would become a secure tenant and so the right to buy would apply.

153.     New sections 143H to 143J set out what happens to the tenancy if a demoted tenant dies during the demotion period. If the tenant was a successor in relation to the secure tenancy which preceded the demoted tenancy (or to the demoted tenancy itself) there is no further right of succession. If the tenant was not a successor then there may be one succession to a person qualified to succeed under new section 143H(3). New section 143J defines "successor" for these purposes.

154.     New section 143K provides that a demoted tenancy cannot be assigned apart from by an order of the court in specified matrimonial or family proceedings. New section 143L ensures that demoted tenants may benefit from the right to repair as set out in section 96 of the Housing Act 1985.

155.     New section 143M gives demoted tenants the same rights to information published by the landlord as secure tenants. New section 143N provides that the county court has jurisdiction to determine proceedings brought before it regarding demoted tenancies. If a person decides to take proceedings in the High Court that could have been heard in the county court under new section 143N, that person is not entitled to recover any costs related to that action.

156.     New section 143P describes who counts as a member of a person's family for the purpose of succession to a demoted tenancy. The concept of an enduring family relationship includes established heterosexual, lesbian or gay unmarried couples.

157.     Paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 makes consequential amendments to the Housing Act 1985.

158.     Paragraph 2(2) amends section 105 of the Housing Act 1985 to give demoted tenants the same rights as secure tenants to consultation on matters relating to housing management.

159.     Paragraph 2(3) amends Schedule 1 of the Housing Act 1985 to add demoted tenancies to the list of tenancies that are not secure tenancies.

160.     Paragraph 2(4) amends Schedule 4 of the Housing Act 1985 to ensure that if a demoted tenant subsequently becomes a secure tenant and thereby entitled to the right to buy, time spent as a demoted tenant will not count towards the qualifying period for the right to buy or towards the level of discount to which he is entitled under the right to buy provisions.

Schedule 2: Curfew orders and supervision orders

161.     Paragraph 2 of this Schedule amends section 37 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 so as to increase the period for which an offender aged 10-15 may be made the subject of a curfew order from up to 3 months to up to 6 months. It also specifies that the supervisor of a young person subject to a supervision order should also act as the responsible officer for the curfew requirement.

162.     Paragraph 3 allows a court to make a separate curfew order in respect of an offender even if it is also making a supervision order in respect of him.

163.     Paragraph 4 (1) to (3) amends Schedule 6 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000 to increase the length of time for which the offender may be required to comply with specified directions of the supervisor or with requirements of the court from up to 90 days to up to 180 days. The directions or requirements may require the offender to live at a specified place and report to specified people at specified places and times. They may also require the offender to participate in activities identified by the supervision officer, such as offending behaviour programmes. The court requirements can also include one to make reparation. Paragraph 4 (4) repeals the paragraph of Schedule 6 which relates to night restrictions as this is no longer required.

164.     Paragraph 4 (5) inserts a new paragraph 5A in Schedule 6 to the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000. New paragraph 5A creates a new requirement which may be imposed by the court in a supervision order. It allows the court to require an offender to live for a period of up to 12 months with a local authority foster parent, subject to certain conditions being specified. Paragraph 5A (2) sets out these conditions. They are that the offence must be one which is imprisonable in the case of an adult, and that the offence or combination of offences were so serious that the court would normally have imposed a custodial sentence, or a custodial sentence would have been appropriate in the case of a 10 and 11 year old persistent offenders had they been aged 12 or over. In addition the court must be satisfied that the offending was due in large part to the home circumstances, and that the fostering requirement would help with the offender's rehabilitation.

165.     Paragraph 5A (3) allows the court to designate the local authority in whose area the offender resides as the one with the responsibility for placing the offender with foster carers, in line with their obligations under the Children Act 1989.

166.     Paragraphs 5A(6) and (7) set out the circumstances in which the court may make a fostering requirement if the offender is not legally represented. Paragraph 5A (8) allows the court to impose other requirements available with a supervision order as set out in Paragraphs 2, 3, 6 and 7 of Schedule 6 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act when imposing a fostering requirement. Paragraph 5A (9) ensures that the local authority has the necessary powers to place the child in other local authority accommodation in an emergency.

FINANCIAL EFFECTS OF THE BILL

167.     The financial effects of the Bill will be subject to a number of variables, particularly related to the extent to which agencies utilise their new powers. Many of the powers are designed to enable local authorities and the police to carry out their existing responsibilities relating to anti-social behaviour in a more efficient and effective way. On current assumptions, which are not final, the Government estimates that gross costs will be in the order of £67m in 2004-05 and £60m in 2005-06. All of these costs should reduce over time as future offending is deterred. In addition, there are significant probable savings in terms of reducing disruption to communities caused by anti-social behaviour, preventing anti-social behaviour and reducing criminal offending although these are yet to be fully quantified. The departments responsible for the measures in the Bill are committed to their spending settlements; and the costs of the Bill will be met from within them. None of the Bill's provisions have tax implications.

Part 1: Premises where drugs are used unlawfully

168.     The total cost for these measures is expected to be £2.5 million a year based on an estimated 300 cases a year. This includes costs to the Department of Constitutional Affairs related to court time and legal aid of approximately £0.8m, costs to local authorities of housing those made homeless of approximately £0.6m and the costs of the police in sealing the property at an estimated £1.3 million. The non-realisable benefits gained from the use of these new powers are expected to include, enhanced community safety, community well-being, reduction in crime, increase in value of properties and increase in trade for local businesses.

Part 2: Housing

Publishing policies and procedures on anti-social behaviour

169.     There is expected to be an approximate overall cost of £319k in 2004-05 for local authorities to publish policies and procedures on anti-social behaviour.

Discretion in possession proceedings

170.     There is expected to be a one-off cost of £5k in updating judicial training material in 2004-05.

Injunctions

171.     There are expected to be costs to the courts of hearing these new applications for injunctions, and of breach of injunctions hearings. These are estimated at £48k in 2004/5 and £139k in 2005/6. There will also be associated legal aid costs. These are estimated at £62k in 2004/5 and £150k in 2005/6. There will also be benefits to the courts from this measure. There are likely to be fewer possession cases brought as anti-social behaviour is more successfully controlled and the community protected through injunctions. However, the Government estimates that there will be a net cost to the courts.

172.     There are costs to local authorities and Housing Action Trusts (HATs) in obtaining injunctions and pursuing breaches of injunctions. These are estimated at £75k in 2004/5 and £233k in 2005/6. There are expected to be benefits to local authorities. Injunctions are seen as likely to reduce the number of possession actions which are necessary, as well as reducing the amount of housing officer time spent dealing with anti-social behaviour. The Government estimates that the overall financial impact on local authorities and HATs of this measure will be neutral.

173.     There will be costs to the police in increased enforcement as there is likely to be a rise in the number of injunctions with power of arrest attached. The Government estimates that the costs to the police of this will be £3k in 2004/5 and £10k in 2005/6. There are also likely to be benefits to the police of the overall package of housing and anti-social behaviour measures. With more effective powers available to social landlords, there are expected to be fewer police call-outs to incidents of anti-social behaviour, and less escalation of anti-social behaviour into crime. The Government estimates that the overall impact on the police is likely to be a net benefit.

Demotions

174.     As this is a new measure, there will be some costs to the courts in new forms, staff training and changes to IT systems. These are estimated by Court Service to be £350k. Where demotion is sought in conjunction with possession, there will be no additional court costs. Where it is sought as a standalone measure, the Government estimates that the costs to the court will be £4k in 2004/5 and £13k in 2005/6. There will also be associated legal aid costs. These are estimated at £28k in 2004/5 and £90k in 2005/6. There are expected to be some benefits to the courts as anti-social behaviour is more effectively controlled and the requirement for other legal action in response to it is lessened.

175.     There will be some costs to local authorities and HATs in applying for demotions. The Government estimates these to be £19k in 2004/5 and £60k in 2005/6. There are also expected to be benefits to social landlords through the more effective control of anti-social behaviour, and hence a reduction in the amount of officer time spent dealing with anti-social behaviour. The Government estimates the overall financial impact on local authorities and HATs of this measure will be neutral.

Part 3: Parental Responsibility

Truancy and exclusion from school

176.     These measures will result in costs to local education authorities but by preventing truancy and permanent exclusions they are also expected to result savings, resulting from avoiding the need for prosecutions and alternative provision for permanently excluded pupils. Penalty notices will also provide a cheaper alternative to prosecution and generate revenue to offset enforcement costs. There will be costs to the courts resulting from the prosecution of parents who do not pay penalties for truancy and applications for exclusion-related parenting orders, but also savings from prosecutions avoided by parenting contracts or replaced by penalty notices. The net effect of these measures on local authority and court expenditure is estimated to be more or less neutral (a very small net increase in expenditure by local authorities estimated at £75k per year and a very small net reduction in expenditure by the courts estimated at £38k per year). These estimates do not take account of indirect savings from reductions in youth crime associated with parenting contracts and orders.

Criminal conduct

177.     These measures will result in costs to youth offending teams but by preventing youth crime they are also expected to result in savings due to a reduction in the number of crimes being committed and the reduced number of prosecutions of children and young people. There will be costs to the courts from applications for anti-social behaviour parenting orders, but also savings from prosecutions avoided by parenting contracts. The net effect of these measures on court expenditure is estimated to be a small net increase of £48k per year for the additional parenting order court cases. Youth offending teams will be able to choose whether they want to make additional investment in early intervention at an estimated cost of £11.2m per year but with potential savings through reduction of youth crime of £19.6m per year across the youth justice system.

Part 4: Dispersal of groups

178.     As a result of this measure there could be an increase in work for the criminal justice system in terms of increased numbers of prosecutions in the courts and financial implications for the duty solicitor scheme and legal aid fund. However, this power will be limited to areas where anti-social behaviour is a particular problem and should be offset by the deterrent effect of a power of arrest and the savings in terms of preventing anti-social behaviour.

Part 5: Sanctions etc.

Anti-social behaviour orders

179.     Measures related to anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs) will improve the process and overall cost of obtaining, monitoring and enforcing breach of anti-social behaviour orders and equivalent orders and providing support to parents of juveniles involved in anti-social behaviour. The measures allowing local authorities to access the youth court and prosecute breach of orders are optional and place no additional obligations on authorities. Similarly, enabling housing actions trusts (HATs) to apply for orders places no obligation on HATs. These measures allow agencies to use their time and resources more effectively according to particular circumstances. For example, a HAT will be able choose to apply for an ASBO rather than seek a possession order and eviction, which is usually more costly, or it may combine both proceedings.

180.     Enabling individuals to be joined to related proceedings in the county court when their anti-social behaviour is a cause of those proceedings makes more effective use of court time by removing the need for a separate hearing. Requiring the courts to make an parenting order when making an ASBO against a juvenile aged under 16 is expected to reduce further anti-social and offending behaviour and thereby lead to savings in other areas of the criminal justice system. Before such savings are taken into account it is estimated costs relating to the measures will be approximately £370k.

Orders made on conviction

181.     Measures related to orders made on conviction clarify the position of the prosecutor in seeking orders on conviction and are expected to ensure the process runs smoothly, thereby making more effective use of court time. The measures are also intended to ensure that orders on conviction are sought where appropriate and therefore preclude the need for a separate hearing in the magistrates' court. Without taking these efficiency savings into account it is estimated that related costs will be approximately £90k. There are no costs arising from removing automatic reporting restrictions on orders on conviction made against juveniles in the youth court.

Penalty notices for disorderly behaviour by young persons

182.     It is planned to pilot the extension of the fixed penalty notice scheme to 16 and 17 year olds in 2004. The costs incurred will be subsumed in the existing arrangements for fixed penalty notices. Costs of national implementation will be assessed in the light of the pilots.

Curfew orders and supervision orders

183.     Measures to allow fostering as an option for use with the supervision order will be piloted with approximately 20 places per year taking an average of 26 young people and each placement lasting an average of 9 months. Estimated total costs of the pilots will be £2m. This includes recruiting training and employing foster carers, evaluation of the pilots and an average weekly cost of £2k of paying foster carers, providing 24 hour support service to foster carers, educational and family support input and therapeutic intervention. There will be estimated savings from custody diversions of around £450k for the Youth Justice Board who commission and purchase secure juvenile places. There are also expected to be additional benefits to this measure which are difficult to quantify, such as reduction in crime for local communities, and a small reduction in the number of juveniles who are in custody.

184.     Changes relating to intensive supervision orders and curfew requirements will allow the Youth Justice Board to increase the length of their intensive supervision and surveillance programme (ISSP) from the current 6 to 12 months. The measure will be rolled out gradually, and will cost youth offending teams £3m in year one rising to 6m in year 2. This includes the extra cost of supervision for the longer period and an increase in tagging costs. The funding will be provided in 2004-05 and 2005-06 through efficiency savings in the secure juvenile estate. Benefits to the community will include a reduction in crime, including reduced re-offending rates. A full evaluation of ISSP is being undertaken by Oxford University. The report of this evaluation is due in 2004.

Extension of powers of community support officers etc.

     185.     The extension of the power to issue penalty notices for disorder to persons accredited under community safety accreditation schemes will increase the number of people who can address these aspects of anti-social behaviour. There are training costs associated with this measure to be met by the organisation seeking accreditation, this is estimated at £136 per individual. The benefits in terms of fines paid and court savings are estimated at £77k in year one, rising to £390k in year three. In addition there are unrealisable benefits in terms of improved community safety.

     Report by local authority of certain cases where a child is remanded on bail

186.     Measures requiring local authorities to provide information to the court regarding young people placed on remand will mean minimal costs to the courts where an additional hearing is necessary to hear the local authority report back. This cost is estimated at £4k per year, and cost to the local authority for the production of the report is estimated at £47k per year. However, the benefit received by preventing re-offending on remand and increasing the attention to the needs of young offenders is expected to lead to savings across the youth justice system estimated at £562k. Overall the measures are expected to result in a benefit of £0.5m.

Part 6: Firearms

     187.     The Government estimates that changes related to the age at which young people can own an airgun will lead to approximately 250 arrests per year with approximately 70 cases proceeding to a court hearing at either a magistrates, court or a youth court. Estimated costs incurred by the Department of Constitutional Affairs will be approximately £60k; police costs are estimated at £8k and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) costs at £25k. The total costs are therefore estimated to be in the region of £93k. There are also expected to be savings as a result of a reduction in police time taken by dealing with complaints, and a reduction in the cost of damage to property.

     188.     Prosecutions under the new offences of having airguns and replica guns in a public place with no reasonable excuse will lead to estimated costs of £288k. The Department of Constitutional Affairs have estimated their costs at £230k. The Crown Prosecution Service estimate their costs at £26k. Police costs are estimated at £32k.

189.     The use of the order making power to ban certain types of air weapons is expected to result in savings on the cost of investigating offences committed with this type of weapon. It is believed that this provision will have no adverse effect on police budgets if it is used to require existing owners to obtain a firearms certificate as the licensing system is run on a full cost recovery basis. The Government estimates the total costs of any prosecutions relating to possession of these weapons would be £143k.

 
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Prepared: 27 June 2003