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					                                                                         Appendix 1

                        Gateshead Housing Company

                       Anti- Social Behaviour Strategy

         March 2005 – March 2008 (updated November 2005)


Executive summary

Anti-social behaviour destroys quality of life and contributes to fear of crime. It can
result in people not going out or stopping their children playing outside. For black
and ethnic minority groups the impact of racially motivated attacks can be seen as
an attack on the whole community. Anti-social behaviour destroys communities,
with people living in fear and those who can move away, doing so. The impact on
deprived neighbourhoods is particularly profound, as anti-social behaviour can
rapidly tip struggling neighbourhoods into decline. There is a wide-range of costs,
with examples of small shops going out of business and, in extreme cases,
recently built properties being demolished.

This strategy has been developed to complement and support the Community
Safety Partnership‟s Anti-social Behaviour Strategy. We recognise that tackling
anti-social behaviour is a key priority for our tenants and leaseholders, and as such
have developed this strategy and associated policies and procedures to reflect this
priority.

The government has required that all Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships
produce an Anti-social Behaviour Strategy. In addition to this, the Anti-social
Behaviour Act 2003 places a duty on all social housing providers to publish their
policies and procedures for tackling anti-social behaviour. As an Arms Length
Management Organisation, The Gateshead Housing Company is key in delivering
these services, in partnership with the Council, Northumbria Police and other
agencies. The strategy has been developed from findings of consultation with the
Community Safety Partnership ASB Strategy, Tenants Forum, Tenants Status
Survey, evaluation of Blizzard project, Diversity Forum, Gateshead Youth
Assembly, Leaseholders Forum and Service User Focus Groups.

Background
The government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and, in March 2003,
the Home Secretary announced that the police and councils were to receive new
powers to deal with anti-social behaviour. A new Anti-Social Behaviour Act
received Royal Assent in November 2003 and will gradually be enacted during
2004. The Act contains measures drawn up from five Government departments
and builds on existing legislation. There will be new powers to close problem
premises, extend Fixed Penalty Notices and disperse groups causing intimidation.




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Strategic Context

Tackling anti-social behaviour must be seen within the context of existing statutory
obligations, particularly:

    The Children Act 1989
    The Homelessness Act 2002
    The Race Relations Act 1976 / Race Relations Amendment Act 2000
    The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
    The Human Rights Act
    The Crime and Disorder Act 1998
    The Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
    The Police Reform Act 2002

Our landlord role is rooted in wider strategic and multi-agency initiatives. Our
approach supports the work of Gateshead‟s Community Safety Strategy and Crime
and Disorder Reduction Partnership, Homelessness and Housing Strategies. The
Crime and Disorder Act 1998, section 17 statement for the housing service, details
our comprehensive approach to tackling crime and disorder and anti social
behaviour.

The strategy complements and is compatible with the following Gateshead
Housing company policies

    Racial Harassment
    Race equality Strategy
    Community Cohesion strategy
    Allocations (General and Supported Housing)
    Domestic violence
    Protection of Vulnerable Adults
    Complaints and Compliments Procedure
    Health and Safety (including lone working)

Policy Statement

The Gateshead Housing Company supports the government‟s efforts to tackle anti-
social behaviour. We recognise that anti-social behaviour can be experienced and
perpetrated by all age groups, and can effect all communities. It is also recognised
that individual perceptions and low tolerance can also be a factor in the levels of
reports of anti-social behaviour. It is therefore recognised that further monitoring
and analysis of reported anti-social behaviour is necessary to allow for prioritising
resources and taking effective actions. Therefore, the company, in partnership with
Gateshead Council is developing an anti-social behaviour database, which will
record and monitor all incidents of anti-social behaviour reported. This will allow us
to establish numbers and types of anti-social behaviour occurring, but also any hot-
spot areas and trends, which resources can then be directed to. The Gateshead
Housing Company recognises that, to provide a quality housing service, we must
be effective in tackling the problems created by anti-social behaviour.



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We will ensure that:

    Every report of anti-social behaviour will be quickly and formally
     acknowledged, and investigated.
    Investigations will seek to identify and contact all interested parties.
    Investigations will start at the earliest possible time after receipt of the report
     in line with the published service standards and be conducted with at a
     reasonable speed.
    In the first place we will assume the report is justified.
    Responses will, as necessary and as appropriate, move from advice and
     conciliation to legal action by TGHC (and where necessary in conjunction with
     Gateshead Council).
    The emphasis is on tackling ASB and modifying behaviour through
     prevention, support, persuasion and legal sanction rather than just displacing
     ASB through eviction.

Vision

Working with the community to provide excellent homes and housing services.

Local people realising their full potential, enjoying the best quality of life in a, safe,
respectful and responsible Gateshead, where there is "an acceptance that anti-
social behaviour, in whatever guise, is not acceptable,

The overarching aim of the strategy is to promote effective,
coordinated action against anti-social behaviour within Gateshead. This entails
providing various forms of practical assistance and support to local partnerships,
and building capacity for communication and co-operation.

Outcomes and Objectives

The main outcomes of this Strategy are:

    Stakeholders will be involved in shaping the ASB Strategy, ensuring that the
     strategy is embraced by all that will be tasked with delivering it. Successful
     implementation of the strategy will ensure that people across Gateshead will
     feel safe in the area in which they live, and will feel part of the wider
     community.
    Employees who are increasingly familiar with key issues in their day to day
     duties through integrating ASB principles into core areas of work. As a result,
     greater numbers of people will benefit from more effective methods of service
     delivery.
    Positive local identities growing and prospering with people seeing their
     communities as an increasingly safe, peaceful areas to live and work.
    An increased sense of belonging for tenants, and an increased satisfaction
     with Gateshead, as a place to live.
    Tenant satisfaction with ASB case management measured and benchmarked
     with a measure introduced to assess the difference our involvement made.
    Customer involvement in shaping Anti-social behaviour services.



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The main objectives of this strategy are:

1.     To ensure that incidents of anti-social behaviour are reported, accurately
       recorded and monitored within timescales and that we provide timely
       feedback.
2.     To ensure that early intervention is taken to prevent the escalation of anti
       social behaviour.
3.     To support victims, their families, and any witnesses.
4.     To encourage victims and perpetrators where appropriate to use mediation
       services.
5.     To tackle ASB and modify behaviour through prevention, support,
       persuasion and legal sanction rather than just displacing ASB through
       eviction.
6.     To take appropriate and proportionate legal action where there is evidence
       against perpetrators.
7.     To encourage a multi-agency approach to prevention and casework finding
       resolutions to addressing anti-social behaviour.
8.     To ensure all relevant staff are fully trained to be able to deal with
       complaints of anti-social behaviour.
9.     To develop customer satisfaction surveys to assess victim‟s satisfaction,
       and assess if we by our involvement we made a difference.
10.    To involve customers in shaping future service delivery.
11.    Identify partnerships and develop procedures to tackle the key concerns of
       customers namely:
            Litter
            Vandalism
            Dog nuisance
            Overgrown gardens
            Youths congregating in groups.
12.    To actively support the Domestic Violence Partnership.
13.    To actively support the Councils racist incident reporting procedures and
       have appropriate policies and procedures to tackle all forms of harassment.
14.    To support our ASB strategy with positive and effective publicity and
       communications.

Multi agency action and partnerships

Many of our initiatives show our commitment to acting with other agencies to
protect residents and visitors to the communities we serve and the homes we
manage.

As a landlord we do not operate in isolation. Instead we use the experience and
skills of partner organisations to tackle anti-social behaviour. We have strong
working relationships with a range of partners such as the Police; Probation; Youth
Offending Teams; Education; Health; Children, Families & Social Care; and other
statutory and voluntary agencies. We also contribute to strategic and multi-agency
partnerships and initiatives such as:

     Problem solving meetings



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         Locally based multi-agency groups such as Local Tasking and Coordination
          meetings
         Early Interventions, e.g. Amber Programme / STOP Programme
         Targeted work to support Police operations
         ASBO Panel
         Education Non-attendance Panels
         Children‟s Trust Preventative working group
         Neighbourhood Wardens

Our partnership work is supported by data sharing protocols such as the Safer
Estates Initiative, i.e. share information on a „need to know‟ basis, mindful of the
need to protect individuals and communities from anti-social behaviour, and of our
responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Housing staff are trained and supported in actions to tackle anti-social behaviour
through specifically targeted courses. We source and develop specialist training to
meet the needs of individual staff and teams. Multi-agency training will also be
delivered in conjunction with other partners to share good practice on the fast and
effective protection of witnesses, and to develop common approaches to
identifying and managing risk and developing support plans.

Gateshead context

Anti-social behaviour Results of the January 2005
Satisfaction Survey

Have you had any experience of anti-social behaviour in the past year?

    Yes                               605      33%
    No                                1227     67%

    Total responses                   1832     100%

Did you report it to...?

    The      Gateshead   Housing
    Company / Gateshead Council  280           47%
    Police                       110           19%
    Didn‟t report it             203           34%

    Total responses                   593      100%

Did the matter get resolved to your satisfaction?
(1) Results for all who answered this question

    Yes                               197      45%
    No                                240      55%

    Total responses                   437      100%



                                                                              5
Did the matter get resolved to your satisfaction?
(2) Results for those who said they had reported the anti-social behaviour.
    ( = 390 tenants. 50 of those did not answer this question)

 Yes                                153       45%
 No                                 187       55%

 Total responses                    340       100%

Did the matter get resolved to your satisfaction?
(3) Results for those who reported to The Gateshead Housing Company or
    Gateshead Council. ( = 280 tenants, 38 did not answer this question)

 Yes                                99        41%
 No                                 143       59%

 Total responses                    242       100%

Did the matter get resolved to your satisfaction?
(4) Results for those who reported to Police
    ( = 110 tenants, 12 did not answer this question)

 Yes                                 54       55%
 No                                  44       45%

 Total responses                     98       100%

Do you feel safer in your home and neighbourhood than you did a year ago?

 Yes                                415       23%
 No                                 245       14%
 About the same                     1129      63%

 Total responses                    1789      100%

Overall, do you think The Gateshead Housing Company and its partners are
doing more to deal with anti-social behaviour than a year ago?

 Yes                                704       40%
 No                                 254       14%
 About the same                     809       46%

 Total responses                    1767      100%

This survey was carried out in January 2005, and will be repeated annually to allow
comparisons to be made.

The Gateshead Housing Company recognises that to tackle anti-social behaviour
effectively, it must be done in partnership. The Gateshead Housing Company
works in partnership with the Council, Northumbria Police and other agencies


                                                                              6
through individual Problem Solving Groups, for each of the five geographical
neighbourhoods in Gateshead. These groups are multi-agency and address local
issues, with an emphasis on long-term sustainable solutions.

The Home Office Anti-social Behaviour Unit has developed the „Together‟ Tackling
Anti-social Behaviour campaign, which is about putting victims and witnesses first
and taking effective action to stop nuisance behaviour. As part of their „Together‟
campaign Gateshead has been selected to take part in this as an „Action Area‟.

       As an action area, Gateshead has committed to:
       Constantly tackling anti-social behaviour and putting the needs of the law-
        abiding majority first
       Identifying the worst 50 anti-social behaviour cases in the borough
       Implement an action plan to address these cases and the problem more
        widely
       Develop and implement a communications strategy providing an anti-social
        behaviour advice line

A consultation and involvement exercise was carried out in 2004/05 with a number
of focus groups including the Tenants Forum, Leaseholders Forum, Service User
Focus Groups, Diversity Forum and Gateshead Youth Assembly.

The purpose of this was to assess the issues that most effect our tenants and
leaseholders and what their priorities are in relation to tackling anti-social
behaviour.

The result of this consultation identified that the following issues were the main
areas of concern:

       Litter
       Vandalism
       Dog nuisance
       Overgrown gardens
       Youths congregating in groups
       Feedback and communication with tenants.

Findings from the Best Value BVPI status survey in 2004 show that it is low- level
anti-social behaviour, which affects most tenants. The survey showed that the
three nuisances that affect people most are:

       Vandalism (68%)
       Litter and rubbish in the street (62%)
       Dogs (56%).

Definition

There is no single definition of anti-social behaviour. It covers a wide range of
behaviour from litter to serious harassment. We believe that Anti-social behaviour
is a particular problem in deprived neighbourhoods, but it can happen anywhere.
The causes of anti-social behaviour are linked to wider social exclusion problems,


                                                                                7
including poverty, family breakdown, mental illness, drug and alcohol misuse and
community disorganisation. Young people are often perceived to be responsible for
anti-social behaviour but they are also most at risk of being victims. The Crime and
Disorder Act 1998 defines anti-social behaviour as “Behaviour that caused or is
likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the
same household as the perpetrator.” The Chartered Institute of Housing defines
anti-social behaviour as “ Behaviour that unreasonably interferes with other
peoples‟ rights to the use and enjoyment of their homes and community.” In
Gateshead, we consider that ASB can include;

    Noise;
    Conflicts including harassment, domestic violence and racist incidents;
    Litter and rubbish dumping;
    Graffiti and vandalism;
    Uncontrolled pets;
    Using and selling drugs;
    Nuisance from vehicles, including parking and abandonment; and
    Unkempt gardens and properties;
    Intimidation
    Hate behaviour that targets members of identified groups because of their
     perceived differences (for example, race and ethnicity, gender, age, religion,
     sexual orientation, mental health or disability);
    Aggressive and threatening language and Rowdy, unruly or threatening
     behaviour.

Anti-Social Behaviour – Our Approach

Enforcement

    We are committed to using a range of methods to resolve anti-social
     behaviour, and where other remedies have failed, or a case is so serious that
     enforcement action is appropriate we will not hesitate to take enforcement
     action to stop the behaviour and protect victims and witnesses.

We will use designated resources to secure the following aims:

    End of anti-social behaviour in every reported case
    Prevention of repetition
    Safety and security of individual witnesses
    Increase in confidence of front line service providers
    Positive media coverage
    Increase in confidence of wider community to report anti-social behaviour

We will meet these aims by combining a wide range of actions, including:

    Listening to complainants and witnesses and providing a confidential service
    Providing an accessible out of hours service
    Effective case management and case closure procedures
    Joint and effective partnership working


                                                                              8
   Supporting victims and perpetrators
   A balance between rigorous enforcement and prevention
   Promoting long-term solutions
   Investigating reports and complaints and establishing the facts, including the
    identification of perpetrators
   Referring appropriate cases to the Mediation service.
   Challenging anti-social behaviour and persuading perpetrators to stop the
    offending behaviour
   In cases where mediation does not happen, applying for court orders -
    injunctions or anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOs)
   In cases of violent, threatening behaviour, seeking these orders without notice
    to the perpetrator to protect witnesses
   In cases of significant risk of physical or mental harm (actual or threatened
    violence, racist, homophobic or other hate behaviour), seeking to have a
    power of arrest attached to relevant orders
   If a court order is breached, seeking an appropriate remedy from the court
   In the most serious cases, seeking a court order to demote a tenant from a
    secure tenancy, or for repossession of the property and eviction of the tenant
    and their household
   Where we secure a demotion or eviction, also asking the court for injunctions
    or ASBO‟s to protect the community from any possible follow-on behaviour.
   Working with the police to use dispersal orders
   Working with the Youth Offending Team (YOT) and Education Services to
    implement Parenting Orders, Parenting Contracts, Individual Support Orders
    and Anti-social Behaviour Warning interviews.
   In partnership with the Council we will also use powers set out in the
    Environmental Protection Act 1990 to stop noise nuisance from domestic
    premises. We will issue Noise Abatement Notices and, where these are not
    complied with, will seek a warrant from the court to seize any noise making
    equipment.

Prevention

Preventative methods are seen as an essential part of our strategy in reducing
incidents of anti-social behaviour in our communities. A summary of the methods
we will use is provided below:

   Carrying out reference checks for prospective tenants.
   Introductory Tenancies for new tenants re-housed from the Housing Register.
   Tenants Reward Scheme (qualifying tenants amongst other requirements
    must have had no legal action taken against them for breaches of tenancy in
    relation to anti-social behaviour).
   Acceptable Behaviour Agreements
   In partnership with the Council, exploring the development of an out of hours
    anti-social behaviour advice line.
   In partnership with the council, developing an anti-social behaviour database.
   Work in partnership with the Amber Programme as a key early
    intervention and prevention initiative with young people aged 8 – 13 years
    and the STOP Programme with young people aged 13 – 17.




                                                                            9
      Work with other partners offering supported tenancies, floating
       support/tenancy support schemes.
      Designing out Crime.
      Developing partnerships with neighbourhood warden schemes.

    Education/Intervention

The Company, in partnership with other agencies is committed to supporting
change in behavioural patterns and reducing anti-social behaviour.

As a member of the Community Safety Partnership, we will work with and involve
people in developing solutions to address anti-social behaviour, as well as work to
address perceptions and tolerance to perceived anti-social behaviour.

A summary of the methods we will use is provided below:

       Offer a „graded response‟ to dealing with anti-social behaviour
       Refer cases to relevant support/intervention agencies where appropriate,
       such as Amber Programme or the Youth Offending Team
      Offer Mediation services as a form of alternative dispute resolution
      Work in partnership with other agencies that can educate and offer
       diversionary activities for young people, such as Futures Plus and Respect
       Birtley projects.
      Use Acceptable Behaviour Agreements where appropriate

Publicity

Publicity of anti-social behaviour cases is essential in supporting local
communities. Where appropriate, we will publicise (through use of leaflets,
newsletters, local press etc.) county court orders, evictions, injunctions, interim
orders and anti-social behaviour orders. Our main objectives are:

      Local people will have the information they need to report any breaches of
       orders
      Public reassurance about safety – victims and witnesses know that action has
       been taken to protect them
      Public confidence in local services – local people are reassured that if they
       report anti-social behaviour it will be taken seriously, and action taken to
       resolve it
      Deterrent to other perpetrators – publicity sends a message about actions
       being taken and is a warning to others causing nuisance in the community

Domestic Violence

The company is committed to working in partnership to tackling domestic violence.
We are active partners in Gateshead‟s Domestic Violence Partnership and support
the partnerships Domestic Violence strategy. We will not tolerate any form of
violence against residents. We have defined domestic violence against women as
“the systematic use of violence to gain power over, dominate or control a partner or
ex-partner”. Domestic violence against women can take many forms, such as


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physical assault, sexual abuse, psychological or emotional abuse, threats,
destructive criticism, pressure tactics, disrespect, harassment, isolation and
financial abuse. Typically the violence involves a pattern of abusive or controlling
behaviour, which tends to get worse over time. The company includes domestic
violence as a condition of tenancy, and will treat all reports of domestic violence
sensitively and will offer same sex interviews where appropriate. Domestic
violence cases will be treated with priority and confidentiality. The company will
liaise and refer to specialist agencies for advice on such cases.


Engagement and support of victims and witnesses

We recognise the apprehension and fear experienced by many victims and
witnesses, and the considerable courage of people who work with us to protect
themselves, their families, and often their whole community.

As a landlord dealing with reports of anti-social behaviour, we will support victims
and witnesses and others affected in the wider community. Our aim is to secure
and maintain the well-being, safety and security of victims and witnesses. We will
treat information they provide with discretion and care, and only use it with their
agreement. We will secure the protection of the courts for victims and witnesses at
the earliest reasonable stage of any case of legal action.

We are committed to working with partners to develop practical and effective
responses to victims and witnesses.

Equality and Diversity

The company is committed to working in partnership with the council and other
agencies to tackle racial harassment and racially motivated crime and hate crime.
We acknowledge that we need to improve our support services to victims of hate
crime, which includes racist, homophobic, and crime and harassment against
disabled people. The main issue that we need to consider is the fact that these
crimes often are under reported. The Council, in partnership with the company has
re-launched the Racist Incident Reporting Scheme, to encourage more victims to
report. There are now a number of reporting centres, including all local housing
offices.

We are currently developing customer profiles, which will enable us to report on
ethnicity in relations to victims and witnesses of anti-social behaviour incidents.

We will be sensitive to individuals needs and where appropriate offer services such
as language line facilities, same sex interviews, sensory support services etc. We
aim to:

    Ensure that all employees who deliver services directly to the public receive
     training to ensure that they do not discriminate against service users.
    Continually review and monitor our services to ensure that they do not
     discriminate against anyone, identify barriers to access, and assess where
     improvements can be made



                                                                               11
    Ensure that we include, consult and encourage participation from all sections
     of the community, where appropriate, in decisions that we make, and that we
     work in partnership with all sections of the community
    Ensure that the needs of all communities within the borough are considered
     and included within the strategic development of services
    Provide culturally appropriate, accessible, effective services, facilities and
     information, to all sections of the borough‟s diverse communities, without
     prejudice or bias
    Celebrate the variety of lifestyles and value the diverse cultures, religions and
     communities within the borough


Community consultation and involvement

A key part of our anti-social behaviour strategy is ensuring that we fully support
and engage with the community in tackling anti-social behaviour effectively,
providing reassurance.

If you experience anti-social behaviour we will take your complaint seriously and
support you through this. We acknowledge that we need to do more to support
victims and witnesses of anti-social behaviour, including victims of domestic
violence and hate crime (including racist incidents). We will provide clear and
accessible methods to report incidents and have established service standards, so
that we are clear about the levels of service provided.
We expect our tenants to adhere to the terms of their tenancy agreement, and we
will enforce the terms if they are breached. This includes responsibility for the
tenants own conduct, others residing with them, and visitors to the property. We
will explain the conditions of tenancy at the start of the tenancy.
Our tenants and leaseholders have told us, through the various consultation
exercises and satisfaction surveys, that feedback and regular performance
information to the public could be improved on. We have therefore reflected this
within the service standards, ensuring that when a report of anti-social behaviour is
made, the complainant will receive regular updates and be involved in the
investigation of their case. In addition to this we will provide regular updates on
performance information through a variety of methods, including:

    Newsletters
    Local press
    Our Website
    Tenants & Residents meetings
    Quarterly Area Board reports.

Specifically, we will consult the following local stakeholders on this draft strategy:

    Tenants‟ groups and leaseholders
    Housing Company staff and Board members
    Stakeholder groups, including organisations representing young people, the
     elderly, Black and ethnic minority communities, and other significant local
     communities



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    Other agencies or services, including social services, education services,
     youth offending teams, health services and the police
    Local housing advice centres and the Citizens Advice Bureau.


Performance management

Cases of anti-social behaviour and neighbour nuisance are amongst the most
difficult to deal with. Performance in this area of work sometimes cannot be
measured by whether or not a particular case has been „solved‟ but relates more to
how cases are managed. Performance against the Anti-social Behaviour Strategy
will be monitored by the Company‟s Area Boards, this will be done via quarterly
reports.

Lead officers for the priorities will be responsible for ensuring the action plan is
developed and implemented, and will report on progress against the targets. There
is a need to review this strategy annually, and to continue consultation over the
period of this strategy. The following Performance measures are those that will be
measured throughout the length of this strategy:

     No. of new ASB cases reported in a month by type
     No. of open ASB cases in a month by type
     No of Referrals to mediation/victim support and the outcomes
     No. of Final Warning Letters issued
     No of legal actions by type (NSP; Injunctions; Interim orders; ASBO,
     Possession Orders; Demoted Tenancies; Evictions) and stage (notice issued,
     court date received; order obtained; breach; due to expire; expired)
     No of ABA‟s (agreed, breached, due to expire, expired)
     Categories of ASB and response times
     Customer profile information relating to ASB Cases
     Level of satisfaction by complainant with process
     Level of satisfaction to assess the difference our involvement made
     The costs associated with tackling ASB




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