Anti-social behaviour disturbs, annoys or interferes with someone’s ability to go about their lawful business.
This can include any of the below types of behaviour.
Misuse of public space
- Vehicle-related nuisance and inappropriate vehicle use
- Loitering and obstructing others from using public space
- People sleeping in public areas
- Fighting or acts of physical violence
- Consuming alcohol in the street
Disregard for community safety
- Hooning and dangerous driving
- Noisy or rowdy behaviour and intimidation (e.g. shouting, swearing and fighting)
- Drunk or disorderly behaviour, including house parties
- Noisy neighbours.
Disregard for personal wellbeing
- Drug use
- Binge drinking and drunken behaviour.
Acts directed at people
- People being insulted, pestered or intimidated
- Aggressive, threatening or obscene language and behaviour
- Aggression or hostility towards minority groups
- Disputes between neighbours.
- Graffiti in public places
- Property damage and vandalism
- Littering and failing to maintain property
- Abandoned cars.
Graffiti is defined as property damage caused by the application of substances (e.g. marker pens, paint and/or plastic, metal or wood-based compounds) to the surface of a property.
Graffiti costs the Western Australian community more than $30 million annually.
Public protests and rallies are considered in terms of lawful and unlawful assembly.
A lawful assembly is a gathering of people at a public place or who are moving together and are keeping within the law, without disturbing the peace.
Unlawful assembly is when three or more people – who intend to carry out some common purpose – assemble and conduct themselves in a way that disturbs the peace, or provokes others to disturb the peace.
Any person who takes part in an unlawful assembly may be imprisoned for 12 months and fined $12,000.
A gathering of people in a place or vehicle is considered an out‑of‑control gathering if:
- 12 or more people are gathered together; and
- 2 or more people associated with the gathering engage in trespassing, disorderly behaviour, destroying or damaging property (or threatening to do so), public obscene or indecent acts, emitting unreasonable levels of noise, hooning, lighting fires or fireworks, throwing objects in a manner that endangers someone, obstructing traffic or pedestrians, littering, being intoxicated by liquor or another intoxicant; and
- the gathering or members of the gathering cause or are likely to cause fear or alarm to the public, substantially interfere with anybody’s lawful activities or substantially interfere with passage through or enjoyment of a place.
This does not include gatherings on licensed premises, a public meeting or procession that has a Public Order in Streets Act 1984 permit, or gatherings for political advocacy, protest or industrial action.
Organising an out‑of‑control gathering
Someone who organises a gathering that becomes out‑of‑control can be imprisoned for 12 months and fined $12,000.
This includes the responsible adult of a child who organises an out-of-control gathering and who permits the gathering to occur.
Offenders may also be ordered to pay some or all of the reasonable expenses for the police to respond to the out-of-control gathering.
The accused may defend themselves by proving they took reasonable steps to ensure the gathering did not become out‑of‑control.
This could include engaging security services, having an invitation-only guest list and giving notice of the gathering to the Commissioner of Police (in an approved manner), as well as requesting police attendance once the gathering had become out-of-control.
Alcohol is the most widely used drug in this country, with more than 13 million people aged 14 years and over indicating in a 2004 survey that they had consumed alcohol at least once in the previous 12 months.
Alcohol is strongly linked to anti-social behaviour and violence, with an estimated three-quarters of assaults related to alcohol use. Alcohol is also one of the causes of many street offences, disorder and assaults.
Individuals who become intoxicated by alcohol may be apprehended by police and either charged or taken to a safe place until the effects have sufficiently worn off.
Alcohol and the law
The sale and supply of alcohol in WA is governed by the Liquor Control Act 1988 (as amended).
Drinking and driving
Drivers of vehicles must ensure their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) remains below those prescribed by law for their class of drivers licence. For unrestricted licences this level is 0.05%.
Alcohol impairs a person’s ability to control a vehicle, and research suggests that the risk of being involved in a car accident is doubled at a BAC of 0.05%.
In WA, it is a criminal offence to drive with a BAC of 0.05% or above. A range penalties apply for different circumstances of drink driving.
For more information on drink driving penalties, please visit the WA Police website.