Statement of Anti social behaviour policy

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					North Wales Housing Association –
Statement of our Anti-social behaviour Policy and Procedures
This statement sets out our policy on managing anti-social behaviour.

What is anti-social behaviour?

    Anti-social behaviour is behaviour which is capable of causing harassment, alarm or
     distress to a person in a different household from the complainant, and which is
     related to the housing management role of a landlord. The list below provides some
     examples of behaviour that could be considered anti-social:
          Noise nuisance, to include rowdy drunken behaviour
          Intimidation and harassment
          Dogs fouling in public areas
          Using homes to sell drugs, or for other unlawful purposes
          Nuisance from vehicles, including inconsiderate parking and abandoned cars

Obligations of tenants

    North Wales Housing Association tenants sign a tenancy agreement when they first
     become tenants of the Association. The agreement sets out the rights and
     responsibilities of the tenant and the Association.

    The tenancy agreement contains the following clauses for the tenant relating to anti-
     social behaviour:

         Not to cause, or allow anyone else who lives or visits the property, (including
          but not limited to children), cause a nuisance or behave in a manner likely to
          cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours, other tenants, members of their
          household, visitors or employees of the Association or persons in the locality.
          Not to use or allow persons living with the tenant or visiting the tenant to engage
          in illegal activity in either the premises or in the locality of the dwelling. A
          conviction for an arrestable offence is a nuisance. The tenant also agrees to
          comply with any notice erected by the Association for the safety or benefit of the
          scheme.
         Not to commit or allow a member of his/her household or visitors to commit any
          form of harassment on the grounds of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual
          orientation or disability which may interfere with the quiet enjoyment of, or
          cause offence to, any other tenant, member of his/her household, visitors or
          neighbours.
         Not to use or allow members of his/her household or visitors to use threatening
          behaviour, or commit violence to the Association’s staff or any Contractors
          working on behalf of the Association, or commit any act of vandalism to the
          Association’s dwellings, premises or property.
         Not to play or allow to be played any radio, television, record or tape recording
          or musical instrument so loudly that it disrupts the quiet enjoyment of
          neighbours and/or surrounding dwellings, or can be heard outside the dwelling
          between the hours of 11.00pm and 7.30 am.




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North Wales Housing Association’s policy on anti-social behaviour

The policy has four main aims:
    Investigating reports of anti-social behaviour
    Taking action in response to anti-social behaviour
    Supporting complainants
    Prevention of anti-social behaviour

1. Investigating reports of anti-social behaviour

    All reported incidents of anti-social behaviour will be logged, prioritised and tracked.

    We will investigate all reported incidents of anti-social behaviour in order to establish
     the facts.

    We are committed to equal opportunities. All people involved in an anti-social
     behaviour case will be treated fairly and listened to on an equal basis.

    The investigation will take into account the need to make sure that complainants
     have realistic expectations of the likely outcome of their case.

2. Taking action in response to anti-social behaviour

    Where possible, we will encourage complainants to manage disputes themselves.
     This option will not be suitable in all cases, for example, where violence has taken
     place or been threatened.

    We will use methods other than legal action to manage anti-social behaviour
     wherever possible. Possession of a property should only be sought when all other
     reasonable steps to manage the anti-social behaviour have been taken.

    In cases of extreme behaviour or where there is a risk of violence, the association will
     take immediate legal action such as an injunction, in order to protect our residents,
     staff and contractors.

    We are committed to multi-agency working to resolve incidents of anti-social
     behaviour, as we believe this is the most effective way to deal with these incidents.
     However, in extreme cases, we may need to take immediate legal action without
     consulting with other agencies in order to protect other residents, staff and
     contractors.

    It is important that residents have realistic expectations of the action the Association
     can take in cases of anti-social behaviour. North Wales Housing Association will not
     have the power to act in all cases, and in these circumstances will advise and
     support the resident to contact other agencies.




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3. Support for complainants of anti-social behaviour

    We will offer support to residents who report incidents of anti-social behaviour. We
     will offer residents encouragement and give them the confidence to deal with
     neighbour disputes for themselves, where appropriate. We will also encourage
     residents to contact other agencies for help where appropriate.

    We have close links with North Wales Police, the County Borough Councils, the
     Probation service and the Youth Offending team. We will also work with voluntary
     agencies, including Victim Support. Victim Support is a national charity, which helps
     people cope with the effects of crime. Victim Support offers emotional support and
     practical information about what happens in court but cannot offer legal advice.

4. Prevention of anti-social behaviour

    Community Initiatives can be planned for some areas, not just in areas where anti-
     social behaviour is reported as a problem. We encourage residents to work with us to
     improve their local area in various projects, including Environmental Projects, so that
     they take a pride in where they live. A budget is set aside for this purpose.
    We will also try to involve young people in projects that help to develop their potential
     in positive ways.
    We have used the principles of Secured by Design in partnership with North Wales
     Police when we have built our estates.
    We have followed the advice of North Wales Fire Service by acting to prevent fire
     hazards – eg. providing skips on estates to avoid an accumulation of rubbish,
     dealing as quickly as possible with abandoned vehicles.
    We have introduced “Starter Tenancies” for all our new tenants. This means that if
     they not keep to the conditions of their Tenancy Agreement within the first year of
     their tenancy and are not willing to behave in an acceptable manner, we can evict
     them.
    Tenants will be informed that we can use “demoted Tenancies” for existing tenants
     who will not behave appropriately – they will suffer a loss of security because they
     will only be given twelve months to improve their behaviour or be evicted.
    Our “Keeping Pets” Policy emphasises that tenants must ask for permission to keep
     an animal. One of the conditions for being allowed to keep the pet is that it should
     not cause problems for other people, such as fouling in common areas, or barking
     constantly. The rule is also included in the Tenants’ obligations in the Tenancy
     Agreement. We will work closely with the Dog Warden and Animal Welfare Groups
     to make sure that this rule is upheld.
    Tenants with a record of a well-conducted tenancy are eligible for membership of our
     Reward scheme – Clwb Seren.
    We can access floating support for tenants who may have difficulty coping with their
     responsibilities, particularly due to Mental Health issues.




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Further information on how North Wales Housing Association manages anti-social
behaviour

Working with other agencies

    In some cases, we need to work with other agencies to tackle anti-social behaviour,
     for example, with social services or with education services.

    North Wales Housing Association takes part in regular meetings with other agencies
     to agree joint action in response to cases of anti-social behaviour. Other agencies
     involved in these meetings include the County Borough Councils, the police, social
     services and other housing associations.

    North Wales Housing Association belongs to the Crime and Disorder Reduction
     Partnership as part of the County Council’s Community Safety Strategy. Crime and
     Disorder Reduction Partnerships allow housing associations, the police and other
     local organisations to work together to develop strategies to reduce crime in the local
     area.

    We can work with the Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership in cases where the
     person behaving anti-socially is an owner-occupier or a tenant of another housing
     association.

    We will refer people acting anti-socially to relevant support agencies where
     appropriate, for example, if there is evidence that the behaviour is linked to mental
     health issues or Education issues in the case of children and young people.

Other relevant policies

Racial harassment policy

    North Wales Housing Association has a separate policy in place to manage incidents
     of racial harassment.

    North Wales Housing Association condemns all incidents of racial harassment
     whether carried out by its residents, employees, Board members, contractors, and
     associated third parties.

    The Association will provide support to anyone experiencing, or at risk of racial
     harassment.

    The Association will take action against perpetrators in order to;
         Protect the victim(s)
         Prevent further incidents of harassment occurring.

Domestic abuse policy

    North Wales Housing Association has a separate policy in place to deal with
     domestic abuse.



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    North Wales Housing Association will provide advice and support to anyone
     experiencing domestic abuse, and will assist the victim to contact the relevant
     agencies for support.

Information exchange

    We have signed up to the North Wales Community Safety Partnership Crime and
     Disorder Information Exchange Protocol. This agreement allows us to exchange
     information with other agencies, such as the police and social services. We can
     exchange information about alleged perpetrators of anti-social behaviour to help us
     work together to manage anti-social behaviour.

Confidentiality

    Housing Officers will discuss the next steps to be taken at each stage of the
     investigation with the complainant, including issues of confidentiality.

Staff training

    Housing Officers have received training on the anti-social behaviour policies and
     procedures, so that they can manage cases of anti-social behaviour.




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Available methods to manage anti-social behaviour

North Wales Housing Association can use the following methods to remedy anti-social
behaviour:

   Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABC)
    An ABC is an agreement between North Wales Housing Association, North Wales
    Police and an individual. The individual will agree to do or not to do certain things.
    ABCs are not legally binding, but can be used as evidence in legal action if
    somebody who has signed an ABC later breaks the agreement.

    If the poor behaviour relates to a young person, we will involve the Youth Offending
    team before agreeing the ABC. This is to make sure not only that the young person
    receives the right support to help them to stick to the terms of the Contract, but also
    that the Youth Offending team are aware of the full circumstances and possible
    consequences of the behaviour.

    If the child is aged under 10 it is likely that the Youth Offending team will work closely
    with the parent, and in some cases will arrange for the parent to attend a Parenting
    course. It is likely that Social Services and/or the Education Welfare Officer will also
    be involved.

   Anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)
    ASBOs are similar to an injunction and can be obtained in a Magistrates’ Court or
    County Court. They can be made against anybody who is over ten years old or
    above, who acted “in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm
    or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as himself”. ABSOs
    are intended to prevent behaviour and order remain in place for two years. Breach of
    the ASBO is a criminal offence and could result in a fine or five years’ imprisonment.

    A Criminal Anti-social behaviour order (CRASBO) can also be made if someone is
    actually found guilty of a criminal offence. The CRASBO is made at the same time
    as sentencing, so that the individual also has to comply with the terms of the
    CRASBO. This is useful in cases, for example, where a prison sentence is given that
    may only last for a short time. The CRASBO can make sure that if the behaviour
    does not improve on release the person is can then be taken back to prison for the
    breach of the CRASBO.

   Demoted tenancies
    We can apply to court to demote a perpetrator of anti-social behaviour to a less
    secure tenancy. For example, we could apply to demote an assured tenancy to an
    assured shorthold tenancy for a period of twelve months.

    Once the court has agreed to demote the tenancy we can more easily evict the
    tenant if the behaviour does not improve. If the behaviour does improve, or the
    person involved is no longer living at the property, at the end of the twelve months we
    will award an Assured Tenancy, which will give the tenant a long-term tenancy again.

   Mediation
    The complainant and person about whom they have complained, meet with a trained
    mediator who will help them come to an agreement to resolve neighbour disputes.

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    Involve other agencies
     We will work with other agencies to manage anti-social behaviour if this is
     appropriate. We can arrange to meet with the person causing the anti-social
     behaviour and other agencies, such as social services or the police, if this is the best
     way to stop the anti-social behaviour.

    Injunctions
     An injunction can be gained through the civil court and either forces a person to do
     something or forbids a person from doing something. Breaking the rules of an
     injunction can lead to a fine or imprisonment.

    Support police prosecution of the perpetrator
     If the anti-social behaviour is also a criminal offence, such as assault, we can work
     with the police to support court action against the perpetrator.

    Possession Orders
     We can apply to the county court for possession of a property where anti-social
     behaviour is affecting other people in the neighbourhood. This course of action is
     seen as a last resort and is only appropriate when other methods have failed, are
     inappropriate, or where there is the likelihood of risk to other people or property if the
     tenant is allowed to stay.

Risk Management

The monitoring of anti-social behaviour cases these will help to identify “hot-spots” in
particular areas that may also be of concern to Community Safety Partnerships. It is
essential that we are able to identify and record cases of Racial Harassment so that they
can be reported to the appropriate agencies. There would be implications for Housing
Management should a particular area become difficult to let. Failure to act to resolve
issues can also be costly in terms of vandalism and criminal damage, and also damage
our reputation as a caring landlord.        Adverse Press reports will also affect our
Development potential in the areas in which we work.

Most importantly there is always the concern that if the Association does not act
appropriately, a further incident could result in serious harm being done to a person or
property.

Monitoring and recording anti-social behaviour

Housing Officers will keep a record of complaints and the action taken. They will also
liaise with other agencies who may be able to work with us to resolve problems.

It is the responsibility of the Housing Services Manager to monitor incidents and to
oversee the progress of cases. If a matter is not resolved, the Manager will make the
decision to pass cases on for Legal Action if necessary.




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Our Statement about the Procedures that we will use

The Procedures for the implementation of this Policy will be broadly outlined in our
leaflet “Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour” which will be made available to all tenants. This
leaflet acts as a summary of the Policy and Procedures. A copy of the full Policy and
Procedures is available on request. The leaflet explains how to make a complaint about
anti-social behaviour, and how we will deal with it. It also explains how we will support
witnesses (and alleged perpetrators if appropriate), take any enforcement action and keep
records of the complaint and the action taken to resolve it.

We consider that it is important to deal with problems quickly before they become difficult
to manage. This also re-assures the tenant that we are taking the matter seriously.
However, there are times when the tenant should speak to the alleged perpetrator first. For
example, a complaint about loud music can often be resolved by a polite request from the
tenant rather than by making an official complaint to the Housing Officer, which can
actually sour the relationships with the neighbour.

It is important to inform the complainant of the progress of the complaint so as to build a
relationship of trust and confidence. This relationship is essential should the c omplainant
have to make a statement for legal proceedings.

If the complainant is unhappy with the way in which we have dealt with the matter, a
Complaint about the service can be made in accordance with the Association’s Complaints
Policy. They also of course have the option of taking their own legal action against the
perpetrator.




This document is based on the July 2005 Welsh Assembly Government’s Code of
Guidance to local authorities and registered social landlords for the purposes of s.218A(7)
of the Housing Act 1996. We are grateful for the contributions of tenants in the preparation
of the Statement and accompanying leaflet.



If you have difficulty in understanding this document or need it in another format, including Braille,
large print, audiotape, Moon, CD or CD-ROM, please contact us on 01492 572727 or e-mail
feedback@nwha.org.uk


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