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What is antisocial behaviour?

Everyone has a different idea about what antisocial behaviour means. The term 'antisocial behaviour' covers any kind of nuisance, unreasonable behaviour or harassment. It can also include more serious criminal behaviour or activity.

The Anti-Social Behaviour Etc (Scotland) Act 2004 provides the legal definition of antisocial behaviour as:

"A person engages in antisocial behaviour if they act in a manner that causes or is likely to cause alarm and distress or pursues a course of conduct which causes or is likely to cause alarm and distress to at least one person who is not of the same household. (Course of conduct must involve conduct on at least two occasions)."

Antisocial behaviour may include, but is not limited to the following:

  • noise disturbances, including loud music, noisy parties and shouting
  • harassment
  • hate crimes including race, religion or faith, sexual orientation, disability or transgender or gender identity
  • violence or threats of violence
  • verbal abuse
  • vandalism and graffiti
  • drug dealing

Please note - many of these are crimes and incidences of violence. Suspected drug dealing and racial harassment should always be reported to the police in the first instance.

What is not antisocial behaviour?

As antisocial behaviour can be difficult to define and although annoying there are some types of behaviour that are not classed as antisocial. These behaviours may not be investigated by our Antisocial Response Officers:

  • children playing in the street or communal areas - unless they are causing damage to property
  • young people gathering socially - unless they are swearing and being intimidating to individuals
  • being unable to park outside your own home
  • DIY and car repairs - unless these are taking place late at night or early in the morning
  • civil disputes between neighbours, for example regarding fence boundaries

For these types of disputes, mediation is often the most appropriate service to help residents resolve any issues.

Page last updated:
07 Sep 2020

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