Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour

Document Sample
Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour Powered By Docstoc
					         Tackling Anti-Social Behaviour:                       The objective of the Housing Landlord Service is to ensure
      You & Your Landlord Working Together                     that:

This Council recognises the sheer misery and disruption that      We respond to nuisance and harassment quickly and
can be caused by Anti-Social Behaviour – that the lives of         effectively and will resolve such situations at the
many people can be affected by the behaviour of an                 earliest opportunity.
unreasonable minority.      Anti-social behaviour can be
anything from low-level, persistent nuisance to serious        If we receive a report that nuisance/harassment has
criminal behaviour and includes all behaviour which impacts    taken place we will:
negatively on residents’ quality of life in and around their
homes. Such behaviour can damage the reputation of whole          Ensure that the report is treated as strictly
neighbourhoods and can be a problem across all tenures in          confidential.
those neighbourhoods. The Council is seen by many as a
senior stakeholder in the community and can make a                Make sure that all such complaints are taken
significant impact by effectively dealing with Anti-Social         seriously.
Behaviour. By having a robust policy and procedure, the
Council as landlord can do much to tackle anti-social             Encourage those who are experiencing nuisance/
behaviour.                                                         harassment to play a full part in action taken to deal
                                                                   with it. Their views will be taken into account in
The Housing Act 1996 defines Anti-Social Behaviour as              reaching decisions on courses of action and they will
“conduct which is capable of causing or likely to cause a          be kept informed of progress and supported during
nuisance or annoyance to a person residing, visiting or            any legal proceedings that may take place.
otherwise engaged in lawful activity in the locality”.
The Crime and Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social               Take firm and prompt action against perpetrators,
behaviour as “acting in a manner that caused or is likely to       wherever possible, and make every effort to support
cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons         victims in their homes.
not of the same household as himself".
                                                                  Work with other agencies wherever possible, with
                                                                   the victim's consent.
Bournemouth Borough Council’s Housing Landlord Service is
committed to working with residents to stop anti-social
WHAT IS NUISANCE AND HARASSMENT?                                 Uninvited visits to someone’s home.
                                                                 Placing excrement, rubbish or offensive materials
Nuisance                                                          near or in the victim’s home.
Nuisance can include types of behaviour that may not be
intended to cause harm but unreasonably interferes with       Racial Harassment
other people's rights to use and enjoy their home and         Racial harassment is harassment suffered by a person
community. For example:                                       because of their colour, race, nationality or ethnic origin.
                                                              Racial harassment is generally directed at members of
   Loud music, shouting, screaming and swearing.             black and minority ethnic communities. We will treat all
   Intimidating behaviour from groups of people.             reports of racial harassment seriously and take a victim
   Car repairs and abandoned vehicles.                       centred approach in investigating such cases.
   Drug and alcohol related incidents.
   Rubbish dumping.                                          Sexual Harassment
   Using premises for commercial gain or outworking.         Sexual harassment refers to harassment suffered by a
   Graffiti, vandalism and damage to communal areas.         person because of their gender or sexuality and where
   Dog barking and pet fouling of communal areas.            the harasser is a person with whom the victim has no
General Harassment
Harassment can take several forms and is any behaviour that   Harassment on the grounds of sexuality can be directed
targets an individual or a family or group, and which         at people known or perceived to be lesbians, gay men,
intimidates, dominates or harms and deprives them of the      bi-sexual, or trans-gender.
right to the `peaceful and quiet enjoyment' of their home.
Harassment may include any of the following:

   Abusive or insulting behaviour – written or verbal.
   Violence and threats of violence.
   Vandalism to property.
   Arson or attempted arson.
   Repeated and unfounded complaints against a tenant or
   Actions/activities intended to deter a person from
    occupying a particular property.
   Abusive telephone calls.
Where a person suffers harassment, including violence or              agreement to solve the problem – compromise at this
the threat of violence, from a person associated with them            stage can often have positive results.
(for example a spouse, ex-partner or relative), this is dealt
with under the Housing Landlord Services Domestic Violence         What about family members and visitors?
Policy. You can report incidents of domestic violence to the       If you are a Council tenant or leaseholder you are
council in the same way as reporting anti-social behaviour         responsible under the terms of your tenancy or lease
                                                                   conditions for the behaviour of your household, visitors
Behaviour Which is not Considered to be Anti-Social                and pets both at your address and in the immediate
It is important to be tolerant of other people's lifestyles and    vicinity. Your tenancy or lease could be placed at risk if
make an effort to get on with neighbours. Behaviour that           these conditions are broken. A copy of your terms and
results from different lifestyles, or which would not be           conditions can be obtained from your Housing Officer,
considered unreasonable by most people, is not anti-social         who can also answer any queries you have about your
behaviour.                                                         obligations.

Avoiding Anti-Social Behaviour                                     WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE SUFFERING
The best thing to do is to avoid action that might cause a         FROM ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR
nuisance to others. For example:
                                                                   The council, acting with other agencies will investigate
   Do not carry out loud activities at night which could result   complaints and can help to resolve problems of anti-
    in excessive noise.                                            social behaviour. However, the level of action we can
   Talk to your neighbours if you intend having a party           take depends upon how severe the problem is. Therefore,
   Do not play your TV, radio, hi-fi or musical instruments       where it is possible and safe to do so, it is always better
    loudly, especially at night.                                   to try to resolve these situations yourself and we suggest
   Keep your dogs and other pets under control.                   the following as ways in which you might do this:
   Be aware of where your children are playing, who is
    supervising them and what they are doing.
   Talk to your children and visitors to your home if their
    behaviour is likely to cause a nuisance or harassment to
    other people.

   Dispose of rubbish or waste in an appropriate manner.
   If you are approached by a neighbour, listen to their
    views, think about their point of view, try to reach an
Dealing with Problems Yourself –                                  behaviour and who was responsible for the behaviour.
                                                                  The sheets can be used to compile detailed statements
Speaking to the Perpetrator                                       for use in legal proceedings, where court action is
                                                                  appropriate. It is however recommended that your
   Firstly, if appropriate and safe, you should speak to         monitoring and recording of events does not in itself
    whoever is causing you the problem. They may not be           constitute a form of harassment.
    aware that they are disturbing you and a compromise
    may be reached.                                               Reporting the Problem to Your Housing Officer

   Before approaching the person concerned, you should           They will then advise you of the next steps to take:
    think about what you are going to say:
    - Be clear about what the problem is and how it affects          All cases will be assessed to establish the severity of
      you.                                                            the problem.
                                                                     Non-severe cases may be resolved immediately,         eg
    - Think about what the outcome is likely to be and stay
                                                                      abandoned cars.
      calm and friendly. Being aggressive won't help.
                                                                     More severe cases will be referred to a specific named
    - Listen to their views and think about things from their         officer for investigation; if urgent this will happen
      view point                                                      immediately.
    - Try not to bring up incidents from the past especially if
      they are not relevant to the present dispute. Instead,
      try to look to the future and how you want things to
    - If the person is unreasonable, leave the discussion.

Keeping a Diary

Keep a detailed record of the nuisance or harassment you
are experiencing, including the type of incidents and when
they occur. These details will be very useful if you need to
contact us and will help build up a case where further action
is appropriate. This is done in most cases through recording
events on diary sheets (copies can be obtained from the
Council). The sheets will include dates, times, type of
What We Will Do When You Report a Problem                       We will contact you regularly during the time we       are
                                                                investigating your case. You may contact your      Housing
If appropriate an interview will be arranged with you to:       Officer by telephone or arrange an interview. If you write
Find out more about the anti-social behaviour                   to or e-mail us, we will send a response within 10 working
 Discuss what you can do to help yourself                      days.
 Explain what we and other agencies can do to assist,
    eg talking to the alleged perpetrator                       What Action We Will Take

If you or a member of your household is at serious risk we         Wherever possible, we will try to resolve disputes
will contact you within 24 hours and arrange to interview           informally and help the people involved to solve their
you within two working days. If you are at risk, we will also       differences.
encourage you to contact other services as a matter of             We can arrange mediation between the parties
urgency, such as the police.                                        involved if this is an appropriate way to resolve
                                                                    the problem.
If you have experienced repeated incidents of nuisance or          In some cases, we may set up a contract or agreement
harassment or had one severe incident, we will interview            with the perpetrator, called an Acceptable Behaviour
you within five working days.                                       Contract (ABC). This contract will list what the
                                                                    perpetrator will do to end the nuisance/harassment.
For other less serious level incidents we will ensure we            We will monitor any contract we set up.
arrange to interview you within 10 working days.                   Where there is clear proof of anti-social behaviour,
                                                                    legal action can be taken. The action that the Housing
Following the Interview We Will Agree an Action Plan With           Landlord Service takes will depend on a number of
You                                                                 factors such as the tenancy status of the perpetrator
                                                                    but could include an injunction, an Anti-Social
   Talk to the perpetrator if appropriate.                         Behaviour Order or possession proceedings against
   Look at what repairs and security measures can be               council tenants. Action can also be taken by other
    provided for you.                                               agencies we work with to resolve the problem e.g.
   Keep you regularly informed of any action we are taking.        criminal proceedings by the police.
   Work in partnership with other agencies such as the
    police to deal with antisocial problems.

Injunctions can be taken out by the council against a tenant       Legal Action Against a Tenancy
or any other adult causing nuisance/harassment on a housing
estate. An injunction is a ban or restriction that is ordered by   If a council tenant or lessee has breached their tenancy or
the County Court.                                                  lease as a result of nuisance or harassment, the council can
                                                                   go to court to ask for possession of the property (ie to evict
If a situation is very serious, ie where there has been an         the person responsible for the problem).
assault or there is a serious threat of assault, the Council can
ask the court to grant an injunction on an emergency basis         In order to evict a Council tenant, the Council has to prove
without a full hearing. This is called a Without Notice            to the court that the nuisance or harassment has happened
Injunction.                                                        and convince the judge that it is reasonable for a
                                                                   possession order to be granted.
If the terms of the injunction are broken, the court has the
power to send the individual concerned to prison.                  The Council can also ask the court to grant an injunction to
                                                                   compel the tenant or lessee to keep to the terms of their
Anti-Social Behaviour Orders                                       tenancy/lease.

Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) can be used against           Victim Support
anybody over the age of 10 who has acted in an anti-social
way which causes harassment, alarm or distress to the local        All reports of harassment are taken seriously and the safety
community. The Council, the police and some other agencies         of residents and their households is always most important.
such as housing associations can apply for ASBOs.
                                                                      Women reporting sexual harassment or domestic
It is a criminal offence to break the terms of an ASBO. If the         violence will be offered an interview with a female
person breaks the terms, the Magistrates or Crown Court can            member of staff wherever possible.
give them a large fine or prison sentence.
                                                                      We will arrange for an interpreter or sign language
                                                                       interpreter to be present if required.
   We can visit you in your home, or arrange to see you at          In serious cases of harassment where action against a
    a local Council office if you prefer. If you cannot visit a       perpetrator is being taken and the complainant is at
    Council office, for example because of a disability,              severe risk, temporary accommodation can be
    please contact us by telephone or through a third party.          arranged. In the most severe cases emergency      re-
    We will arrange an appointment to visit you at your               housing will be considered if there are no other
    home.                                                             options.

   If you visit a local Housing Office to report nuisance or        If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your case,
    harassment and would like to be interviewed in a                  or wish to suggest any improvements to our service, you
    private room, please tell the receptionist who will               can do this through the Council’s complaints procedure.
    arrange this.                                                     Details of the procedure and a form are available at
                                                                      your local Housing Office or by telephoning the
   Any reports of harassment will be treated as strictly             Council’s contact centre.

   No action will be taken against a person harassing a
    victim without the victim's consent.

   We can arrange for any letters or other written material
    sent to you to be translated into your preferred

   Any urgent repairs to Council properties as a result of
    harassment will be carried out the same day where
    possible and any offensive graffiti will be attended to
    within 24 hours of it being reported. General graffiti
    will be removed within seven days.

   We will, wherever possible, put you in contact with
    other services and agencies who can offer you support
    and practical assistance.

Housing Landlord Services

Housing Management (West and Sheltered)
Kinson Neighbourhood Office
1599/1601 Wimborne Road
Bournemouth, BH11 9AB
Telephone: 01202 453907

Housing Management (East)
Strouden Library, Castlepoint
Castle Lane West
Bournemouth, BH8 9UP
Telephone: 01202 451915

Environmental Health – Noise/Dog Warden
Town Hall, Bournemouth BH2 6LL
Telephone: 01202 451309

Emergency, dial 999
Other calls: 01202 552099

Council House Repairs
Freephone: 08000 281870

Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Town Hall, Bournemouth BH2 6LL
Telephone: 01202 290967