What is anti-social behaviour? (ASB)
Anti-social behaviour ranges from serious acts of violence and harassment to less offensive issues such as barking dogs or overgrown gardens.
If you or your family or your visitors behave anti-socially we will take action to stop you. This may include:-
- Going to court to ask for you to be a demoted tenant or to be evicted
- Applying for an injunction to prevent you from behaving anti-socially
- Applying for an anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) or other order to exclude you from the property or the area (or both)
- The court can decide that groups meeting and causing anti-social behaviour can be dispersed (moved on or excluded from an area) by the police
We will ensure we meet all legal and regulatory requirements and support expectations outlined in the Respect Standard for Housing Management
We recognise our obligations to ensure that those living, working and visiting areas, which include accommodation owned or managed by us can enjoy their homes, their estate and the community in which they live without unreasonable disruption from others.
Where possible, we will encourage residents/customers to resolve any breakdown in relations or differences in a positive way, with minimum involvement or recourse to the legal route.
However, this is not always possible because a person/s:
- Uses or threatens to use violence
- Persists with serious anti-social behaviour
- Continually breaches their tenancy
What can you expect from us?
- We work in partnership with local authorities, community safety partnerships, police, social services, health service and mediation service to prevent and deter anti-social behaviour where possible.
- Provide help and support to people who are serious about making positive changes in their behaviour.
- Take swift and effective action that is appropriate and proportionate to the incident and investigation as a whole.
What can I do if I am affected by anti-social behaviour?
If you are unable to resolve the situation by talking to the person causing the anti-social behaviour then please contact us. Please give the customer services officer as much information as possible regarding the nuisance/issues that affect you. If the problem involves a risk of harm to yourself or anyone else then you should contact the Police - dial 999.
How do I report an incident of anti-social behaviour?
You can report incidents of anti-social behaviour in the following ways:
- In person at your local office
- By telephone
- In writing
- By email
What happens after I report an incident of anti-social behaviour?
Anti-social behaviour can be caused by many things. We will react in different ways dependant on the anti-social behaviour:
Category A (serious) – Response within 1 working day
- Threats of, or actual violence against persons/property
- Intimidation or harassment (hate crime) on grounds of race, colour, nationality, physical appearance, sex, sexual orientation, age, religious belief or disability
- Allegations and evidence of crack houses, discarded needles or other hazardous materials
Category B (moderate) – Response within 5 Working days
- Loud and frequent parties
- Regular and loud noise particularly late at night
- Regular and frequent noise from vehicles
- Regular and inappropriate playing of ball games in the street
- Youths congregating
- Non-offensive graffiti
How will we respond?
- We will aim to make contact with the person who has reported the incident within 1 working day for Category A and 5 working days for Category B incidents, (this does not include weekends or bank holidays where other arrangements are in place)
- Noise - Your local Council’s Environmental Health section has legal powers to deal with noise nuisance. Most Councils now operate a 24-hour call out service to investigate these types of complaints
- Officers will assist and discuss your concerns and/or arrange an appointment
- Details of any witnesses to the incident will also be taken and may be contacted
- The officer will consider the details of the incident and inform you whether the nuisance is considered to be category A or B
- We will keep you informed on the progress of your case and will aim to write to you within 10 working days once we have determined the action to be taken
- When Category A complaints are received outside normal working hours the customer service officer will be available to offer assistance and make arrangements depending on the needs of the case.
Recording anti-social behaviour – Evidence of ASB
- In some cases we will ask for a written record (diary of when ASB events happen) to be kept. These are very important and without these documents we are often unable to take any action.
- If you are not comfortable or confident in writing we will be happy to supply other means to assist you. An example would be a voice recording machine. Your statement can then be typed for your signature.
- If English is not your first or preferred language again we will be happy to offer/arrange translation services.
What can be done?
- We expect residents to use mediation to resolve neighbour issues and we can refer all parties to a mediation service. The mediation service can discuss with you the service they provide before they talk to the other party. They can act without the two parties coming together if this is a concern. If you agree to a meeting this can be held in a suitable place and will be managed by an independent person, (someone not connected to us). This person will encourage all parties to air their views and listen to all concerns before suggesting a way forward. All information supplied during these meetings is private and will not be shared. However, if either party fails to keep to an agreement or there are further acts of ASB we can use the mediation as part of the evidence required to take legal action. Mediation is a free service.
Will my identity be protected?
- Any information given or shared with us will be treated in confidence. This information will not be given to or discussed with the person/s that is alleged to be causing the nuisance. We do have a duty to disclose all information when and if we seek legal action or intervention. Please refer to our witness support section for more information.
What is an information sharing protocol?
This is a set of rules which all agencies (e.g. Police, Social Services, local Council) involved in tackling ASB sign up to so they can share and exchange information where it will assist in:
- Preventing or detecting crime
- Preventing disorder
- Protecting public safety
- Comply with Data Protection & Human Rights Act
Will you act if I do not give my name or I make an anonymous report?
- We will investigate anonymous reports/incidents as far as possible, but remaining anonymous will limit and in most cases prevent any action being taken to resolve the ASB.
Action that can be taken to contain ASB
ABC (Acceptable Behaviour Contract)
ABC’s are also known as ABA’s (Acceptable Behaviour Agreements)
- An ABC is a written agreement that an ASB offender agrees to abide by
- ABCs have been designed primarily for use when working with individuals between the ages of 10 and 18. However, an ABC can be entered into with someone of any age. Each ABC will be regularly reviewed. At these reviews the agencies involved will compare records to see whether the agreement has been kept to
- An ABC offers a young person a chance to modify their behaviour without legal action being taken against them. And although not legally binding an ABC can support evidence should legal action become necessary
- If a young person breaks one of the restrictions made as part of an ABC an application can be made to the Court for an (ASBO)
PCA (Parental Control Agreement)
- It is essential that parents and guardians take responsibility for the behaviour of their children. If an ASBO or an order of the court is made against a juvenile the court can consider making a parenting order in respect of the parents or guardians of the child or young person. Parenting orders are civil orders that help to ensure parents address their child’s offending or anti-social behaviour, and to establish discipline and a relationship with their child.
- An injunction is an order of the court which specifically stops a person acting in a particular way or requires the person to act in a specific way. An injunction can be obtained against any person over the age of 17. If breached, the person will be considered to be ‘in contempt of Court’ and an application can be made to have the person committed to prison. The injunction can have the power of arrest attached to it and stop a person/s entering a property/location or approaching a person.
ASBO (anti-social behaviour orders)
- These are used when a person aged 10 years and over engages in or threatens to engage in behaviour which is likely to cause harm, alarm, distress or harassment to one or more persons not of the same household as him/herself. The order can stop the individual from associating with specific people, conducting specific acts, or general acts. It can also forbid the individual from being, entering or remaining upon certain given area/estate or cities. ASBO’s are effective and can be granted for any given period.
Demotion of Tenancy
- If the perpetrator of the anti-social behaviour is one of our tenants, an application can be made for a Demotion Order which will have the effect of reducing the status of the person’s secure or assured tenancy to a ‘demoted tenancy’ for a period of 12 months. During the 12 month period we can ask the court to give us possession of that person’s home if there are further breaches of their tenancy agreement. For more information contact your housing office.
Possession Proceedings – Eviction
- If all other remedies have failed (or are not appropriate) we can and will commence possession proceedings which may ultimately result in eviction. Being evicted can seriously affect that person from finding other accommodation.
If I am not happy with the service I receive, what can I do?
- We aspire to excellence and try to give a quality service every time. There may be times, however, where you feel we do not get it right or you feel we have not acted in line with our policy and procedures.
- In such circumstances, you can speak to the officer dealing with the case, their manager, or you can use our formal complaints procedure. Please refer to section 6 which explains how we deal with complaints.
- A copy of our anti-social behaviour policy is available on request.
Examples of Antisocial behaviour - but is not limited to the following:
- Using or threatening to use violence
- Racist or homophobic behaviour, including physical or verbal abuse, graffiti, displaying racist literature or posters
- Drug dealing in your home or in the local area
- Being under the influence of drugs or very drunk in public
- Damaging property
- Criminal activity in the property
- Dealing in pornography
- Playing music loudly or making other loud noise
- Shouting and swearing
- Banging and slamming doors
- Skateboarding or roller blading or cycling on footpaths and walkways where it could cause a nuisance or be unsafe
- Playing games that could cause a nuisance
- Bullying persons in the local area
- Riding motorcycles or quad bikes or mini motors in pedestrian areas or off-road
- Dumping rubbish
- Going to the toilet or spitting in public
- Selling alcohol, tobacco or fake goods illegally
- Paint spraying, graffiti, tagging or defacing property
- Throwing things out of windows or from balconies
- Not keeping pets under control
- Not cleaning up after your dog in shared and public areas
- Allowing your dog to bark continuously
- Breaking shared security, e.g. allowing strangers to get into the building
- Putting offensive materials through letter boxes
- Malicious phone calls
- Not looking after your children properly
- Not looking after your garden
- Carrying out DIY or vehicle repairs late at night or early in the morning
- Storing unused vehicles and equipment in your garden or any nearby public space or road
- Burning garden waste or rubbish where this could cause a nuisance
- Interfering with neighbours, other people who live in the neighbourhood or anybody visiting or working in the area
- Allowing or being part of a group meeting and causing antisocial behaviour in the local area
- Installing (or encouraging or helping anyone to install) pirate radio broadcasting equipment in or around property, block or neighbourhood
- Illegal or unauthorised use of CCTV equipment