Football nuisance and antisocial behaviour
Though playing football does cause considerable annoyance to residents, it is not considered that antisocial behaviour legislation, which is mainly governed by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, is appropriate for dealing with this problem.
What laws apply?
There is an offence under the Road Traffic Act where it has to be proved that on each individual occasion the playing of the game impedes a user of the highway. Where an offence can be proved, the maximum penalty is £10. However given the costs involved in court action, this is unlikely to go to court.
With regard to balls being kicked and hitting cars and other property, the legislation that could be considered would be Criminal Damage under Section 1(1) Criminal Damage Act 1971. Criminal Damage can be a deliberate or reckless act. In cases such as this, a deliberate act could not be proved. This leaves us with the reckless possibility. In such circumstances to prove that the act was other than an accident would be virtually impossible.
Where young people then go uninvited onto property to say for example collect their football, it is "Common Trespass". All that is available is for the house owner, landlord or tenant to take action at County Court to seek an order restraining a named person from entering their property.
Where plants are damaged the question arises of how much value is placed on a plant. It is open to the complainant/victim to seek damages at County Court. Unfortunately a parent is not responsible for the debt involved. The action would have to be taken against the young person. However it is unlikely that even if the case succeeds it would be possible to claim the costs of taking the case to court.
No ball game signs
A number of these signs still exist from the old Bromley housing stocks which are now mostly owned by housing associations. Where these signs exist it should be noted that there are no bylaws in this borough to enforce this.
Residents can seek advice from their local safer neighbourhood policing teams.