Saturday, 20 September 2014

ALMO claims legal first for anti-social behaviour charge

An arm’s-length management organisation in Solihull has secured an anti-social behaviour order attached to a criminal conviction, which it claims is a housing first.

Criminal anti-social behaviour orders are ASBOs tacked onto criminal convictions and can be made at the time of sentencing. They are usually secured by the police, with housing bodies more likely to seek a conventional ASBO.

But when the police felt they did not have sufficient evidence against 45-year-old Gary Dutt to secure a CRASBO, Solihull Community Housing took matters into its own hands.

They managed to provide enough hearsay evidence for Solihull Magistrates’ Court to grant the CRASBO in July to Mr Dutt - of Old Station Road, Hampton-in-Arden – who had pleaded guilty to three public order offences in June for his extremely aggressive and threatening behaviour towards two local families.

Mandy Mason, ASB manager for SCH, said: ‘Not only is this a great result for those people and families who have been affected by this man’s actions, but it is also a landmark case for SCH to be involved in instigating a CRASBO.

‘We are now hoping to work with the Crown Prosecution Service in Solihull to review the processes involved in a CRASBO application with a view to us taking the lead in appropriate cases.’

Staff at the ALMO explained securing the CRASBO meant time and resources were spared as they did not have to re-start a process of preparing evidence and getting a new court date, as they would have had to if they had decided to try for an ASBO.

They hope after their success other housing organisations will see the benefits and follow their example.

The terms of the CRASBO state Mr Dutt can no longer behave in a way that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress in England and Wales, nor communicate or act in a manner towards any student or member of staff – or any persons - in any education establishment in England and Wales in a way that will cause them fear anxiety or stress.

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