Clause 45 - Persons acting in an anti-social manner

Police Reform Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:30 pm on 25th June 2002.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Mr Nick Hawkins Mr Nick Hawkins Conservative, Surrey Heath

We shall come to another issue to do with antisocial behaviour orders under clause 57. I am delighted that my amendments Nos. 271 and 272 and proposed new clause 20 have been selected for debate under that clause, and I do not want to anticipate those

arguments. However, we have been asked by the Police Federation to raise one particular matter under clause 45, which also deals with ASBOs, and I hope that the Minister can shed light on it.

Although the Police Federation supports what is said in the clause—and I can well understand why—it raises the issue that as yet there is no specific statutory definition of what is encompassed under the term ''antisocial behaviour.'' All of us will have some idea of what is meant, and the Minister might say that it would not be helpful to have a statutory definition. However, as the Police Federation specifically asked my hon. Friends and me to raise the issue, I thought it best to put the question on the record under the clause, and to give the Minister an opportunity to give his view as to whether the Government have it in mind, perhaps in later legislation if not in the Bill, to give an overarching definition of what constitutes antisocial behaviour.

Photo of John Denham John Denham Minister (Home Office) (Police and Crime Reduction)

Clause 45 centres on the ability to ask for a name and address from someone believed to be acting in an antisocial manner. It has some read-across to this morning's debate on accredited community safety officers and CSOs being able to do so. It would be strange if, through earlier legislation, CSOs and ACSOs had the power to ask for a name and address but a police officer did not. The clause therefore completes the picture.

There is wording that answers the hon. Gentleman's question. The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 gives the definition of antisocial behaviour as acting

''in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household''.

We will, under a later set of amendments, debate the phrase,

''not of the same household'', but that definition is the basis that we are relying on in the clause.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 45 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 46 to 48 ordered to stand part of the Bill.