Lords debate Anti-Social Behaviour Bill

JUSTICE is concerned about the range of the measures in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill. The Bill is lengthy and broad in its scope, covering such diverse issues as compensation for miscarriages of justice, extradition and counter-terrorism powers exercised at ports and other points of entry to the UK. As the House of Lords prepares to debate the Bill for the first time, tomorrow, JUSTICE raises a number of significant concerns.

In summary:

Anti-Social Behaviour

  • The criminal standard of proof should apply to IPNAs;
  • The nuisance or annoyance test is far too low a threshold and should be replaced by the current ‘harassment, alarm or distress’ test, as well as a test of necessity for IPNAs and CBOs;
  • All terms imposed must be required to be necessary and proportionate;
  • Maximum duration of terms must be specified;
  • Positive requirements must be formed from an exhaustive list, take account of care arrangements and not duplicate existing community orders;
  • Orders should not be available for children. If they are, Acceptable Behaviour Agreements should first be tried. Reporting restrictions should remain in place to protect children. Imprisonment for breach should not be an option;
  • Dispersal powers should only be available where there is a significant and persistent problem, not exceed 24 hours and not be available to PCSOs. Non-compliance should not be made an offence as public order offences already exist.

Stop, search and detain under the Terrorism Act 2000

  • The proposed reforms in Schedule 8 are welcome but do not go far enough.
  • The powers in Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 are overly broad, arbitrary and discriminatory in their application, and inconsistent with the rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights and the common law.
  • Schedule 7 enables significant interference with individual rights to privacy and liberty – for example, envisaging the seizure, copying and retention of significant personal data when personal electronic devices such as smartphones are seized – without any justification based on reasonable grounds that the person concerned poses a risk.
  • Nothing in the proposed reforms would limit the exceptionally broad discretion which allows for individuals to be stopped whether or not any grounds exist for suspecting that they may have an involvement in terrorist activity.
  • Without amendment to introduce a requirement for ‘reasonable suspicion’ and to introduce clearer safeguards for its operation, this power will remain overly broad, draconian and unjustifiable.


  • Amendments to the flawed extradition process are welcome. However, proportionality checks should apply to requests for a person to serve a sentence as well as to try them;
  • Extradition should be barred where the requesting state has not made a decision to charge and try the person, and should not be conditional upon the person’s absence from that state;
  • Temporary transfers must be subject to procedural safeguards;
  • The time limit for all extradition appeals should be 14 days. Discretion to extend should be available in exceptional circumstances where the interests of justice so require;
  • A leave requirement should not be imposed upon requested persons. If introduced, this should extend to requesting states, and be subject to review. Legal aid must remain available and be granted expeditiously;
  • Further amendments are necessary to make the procedure fair. At a minimum these are: bar to extradition where the person can serve their sentence in the UK, bar to extradition where there is shown to be mistaken identity; non means-tested legal aid.

Miscarriages of Justice

  • Compensation for miscarriages of justice must not be limited to cases where new evidence shows beyond reasonable doubt that the person is innocent. The current test should remain, that no reasonable jury could convict.

Read JUSTICE’s briefing for the Second Reading of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill in the House of Lords.