New Anti- Social Behaviour Bill to criminalise children playing outdoors
Play England and partners, alongside the wider children’s sector, are deeply concerned by changes to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill.
The government is changing the law and replacing ASBOs with Injunctions To Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAs). While ASBOs targeted behaviour considered to ‘cause harassment, alarm or distress,’ IPNAs will target conduct ‘capable of causing nuisance or annoyance’. This poses a real threat to the quality of life for children across England and Wales.
The new injunction will be enforceable from age 10 upwards and will require significantly less proof to enforce than with the previous ‘ASBOs’, yet can be punishable with imprisonment if broken. The Association of Police Officers, who have suggested that the new threshold is too subjective and could unnecessarily criminalise children for simply being children, share this concern.
Not only does this legislation directly contradict the United Nations call to support children’s right to play, but rather than tackling the root issue of anti-social behaviour, this will merely serve as another barrier stopping children from playing outdoors with their friends in the street, the park or other public spaces, further jeopardising the physical and mental health of children.
Please show you Love Outdoor Play now by signing and sharing the Stop Punishing Children for Being Children petition and help make sure children and young people across England and Wales can fully enjoy their right to play throughout their childhood and teenage years.