If there’s somethin’ strange in your neighbourhood you can now call… any of the persons listed in s.37(1), Policing and Crime Act 2009 (and not Mr Ray Parker Jr for whilst he “aint afraid of no ghost”, he’s useless* against criminal gangs).
You may recall that, back in BCC v Shafi (our note here), the Court of Appeal** held that a local authority could not use s.222, Local Government Act 1972 to obtain an injunction against members of a gang if (as in Shafi), it was possible to obtain an ASBO under s.1, Crime and Disorder Act 1998 instead. In that case, the authority had to seek an ASBO.***
The (then) government responded with Part 4 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 which created the “Gangbo”, providing for powers to obtain injunctions (with the corresponding civil standard of proof) to break up gangs (e.g. to prohibit the enjoined-person from being in a particular area, wearing certain clothes, etc).
The new government announced that the injunctions would come into force on January 31, 2011. That momentous day has arrived and the provisions are now in force. The BBC indicates that Manchester are looking to use the new powers; at the moment, only persons over 18 can be enjoined, but there are plans for a trial scheme to operate against younger persons later this year.
*** Although, of course, s.222 permitted authorities to seek injunctions both to aid the criminal law and to restrain a public nuisance; Shafi appears to have left the latter untouched.