Anti-social behaviour

The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our number one priority. We understand that Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) can have a significant impact on people’s mental health and sense of security as well as harming the wider community. This is why we have a dedicated community safety team which works with our local neighbourhood officers to resolve any ASB issues as quickly as possible.

What is anti-social behaviour?

Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) can cover a variety of issues ranging from minor neighbour disputes to serious criminal behaviour. It is defined as behaviour that is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

The following are some of the most common examples:-

Environmental ASB

  • Condition of property that is causing a hazard to health
  • Littering/fly-tipping
  • Dog fouling
  • Graffiti

Personal ASB

  • Foul and abusive language
  • Threats of or actual violence
  • Threats of or actual criminal damage
  • Harassment
  • Persistent and unreasonable noise nuisance

Community ASB

  • Drug use/activity at or in the locality of a property
  • Loud music/shouting/regular parties from an address
  • Irresponsible or dangerous parking on land owned by us

Types of ASB

Violence or threats of violence

An assault is carried out with an intentional act of bodily harm, causing physical or harmful contact.

All instances of assault and threats of violence, whether carried out by one of our customers or against them, in the locality of their home, is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police. If you are in immediate danger call 999, if not report it on 101.

Please make a note of the collar number of the police officer that deals with the case, along with the crime reference number, so that we can contact the police for further details.

Domestic abuse

Domestic abuse is any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.

We may ask the victim to consider contacting the police and be supported by local or national victim support services. We work with the Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference MARAC, where agencies and police risk assess domestic abuse victims and attempt to offer support to keep them safe.  Find out more at www.safelives.co.uk.

You can also call the National Domestic Violence Helpline on freephone 0808 2000 247. The helpline is a national service for women experiencing domestic violence, their family, friends, colleagues and others calling on their behalf. The helpline is staffed 24 hours a day by fully trained female workers and volunteers and all calls are completely confidential. The service offers translation facilities for callers whose first language is not English and a service for callers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

There is a freephone, confidential helpline for men experiencing domestic violence from a partner, ex-partner, or other family members. Call 0808 801 0327, Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.

Hate crime

Hate crime is an act in which an offender intends to hurt another person based on the victim’s ethnicity, national origin, race, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or disability.

Examples:

  • Using derogatory words about or to another person, based on their race.
  • Spray painting of a racial symbol on the side of a property.

All instances of hate crime are a criminal offence and should be reported to the police. If you are in immediate danger call 999, if not report it on 101.

Please make a note of the collar number of the police officer that deals with the case, along with the crime reference number, so that we can contact the police for further details.

Help and support

If you are the victim of hate crime you can have a confidential chat with our officers to discuss how we can help.

Other useful contacts are listed below.

New Era Staffordshire

Staffordshire womens Aid

Shropshire Domestic Abuse Services

West Mercia Womens Aid

Communities Against Crimes of Hate

Noise nuisance

A serious noise nuisance is loud and persistent and can include noise caused by pets.

If you are experiencing serious noise nuisance, we will ask you to keep a nuisance diary/log for two weeks which we will review and contact you to discuss further.

It’s important to bear in mind that there are some general household/lifestyle noises that we will be unlikely to be able to help with, such as:

  • Footfalls (especially between flats)
  • Lights being switched on and off
  • General talking coming from either the house or the garden frequently and for prolonged periods
  • Slamming of doors or cupboards
  • Babies crying
  • Vacuuming, doors shutting, washing machines, TVs etc.
  • Mowing the lawn

You can also contact your local council for further advice and assistance on noise nuisance.

 

Property damage

Wilful damage and destruction caused to a property that may or may not be owned by the person causing the damage is a criminal offence.

If damage is being caused to our property and is in progress, please call 999 immediately, if not report it on 101.

Please make a note of the collar number of the police officer that deals with your complaint, along with the crime reference number, so that we can contact the police for further details. We will ask you to make a statement, so we can consider taking legal action.

Drugs

Taking, selling or supplying drugs is a criminal offence and where there is evidence of this activity it should be reported to the police via 101 or crimestoppers-uk.org – 0800 555 111.

You can make a report anonymously. However, by remaining anonymous, it may reduce the ‘grading’ of your intelligence. You can give your name and ask them to withhold this information to any third party. We ask witnesses to make a statement so we can consider taking legal action.

Children playing

Children playing is not anti-social behaviour unless there is actual damage or serious noise nuisance.

Children have a right to play time, but should you have a justified reason e.g. their safety, for not playing in the immediate area, we would recommend that you try and speak to the parents of the children. Please remember to stay calm and politely explain how their children are impacting on your life.

Parking

If there is a boundary dispute, we will look at the property deeds to identify the land boundaries. We will not intervene in any other disputes around parking.

You can report parking issues on our land to us. No unauthorised or un-roadworthy (no valid tax, MOT certificate, no insurance) vehicle should be parked on our land. You are not allowed to SORN a vehicle to our land as it’s a breach of your tenancy.

Parking issues on the public highway are dealt with by the local council. For potholes, lighting or road problems, please contact the Highways Agency – www.gov.uk/government/organisations/highways-england

Littering and fly-tipping

It is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for any person to fly-tip rubbish on any land in the open air. You will need to contact your local council to report fly-tipping. If there is sufficient evidence, the council will look to prosecute the offender.

If the fly-tipping in on our land you can report it here.

It is a breach of tenancy for a resident to fly-tip on our land.

Graffiti

You can report graffiti issues here.

We will ensure that attempts are made to remove the graffiti as soon as possible and where there are offensive words or pictures, within 24 hours of the report.

What is not classed as ASB?

Sometimes customers report problems with their neighbours which are not a nuisance according to the law. This limits our powers to deal with the issues listed below, which are not considered to be ASB:

•    Differing lifestyles
•    Neighbours who work shifts, have young children or are elderly
•    Small amounts of littering on communal areas
•    Children playing ball games on communal greens
•    Domestic noise such as footsteps, talking, dropping objects or vacuuming
•    One-off parties
•    People being rude or giving a ‘funny’ look
•    Cats roaming or fouling
•    Disputes on social media such as Facebook
•    Inconsiderate parking

Whilst these matters can sometimes cause stress, legally, everyone is entitled to go about their life creating normal amounts of noise without having to worry about how it affects others.

You may be offered mediation as a means to prevent further problems, or signposted to other agencies to see if they can assist.

How can I attempt to resolve the problem?

Attempting to resolve the problem with the person concerned is often the simplest and most effective solution.

Here are some tips:

  • Make a friendly visit to the person causing the problem to discuss the situation.

  • Try and settle the problem without ill-feeling. Explain why you are complaining and that you would appreciate cooperation in trying to sort out the matter.

  • Be prepared to compromise and reach an agreement you are both prepared to stick to.

Try not to:

  • Get drawn into an argument.

  • Approach them when you are angry – calm down first.

  • Speak to your neighbour in a loud or aggressive manner.

Please remember – everyone has the right to lead their chosen lifestyle within the privacy of their own home. We will only take action where it is clear that this is interfering with the rights of others of the ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their home.

How can I report ASB?

You can report ASB using the online form below:

Report ASB form

You can also call: 0800 048 8955 or

Write to:
Homes Plus
Acton Court, Acton Gate
Stafford, ST18 9AP

We will respond to low risk reports of ASB within three working days. High risk cases involving threats of, or actual violence, criminal damage or hate crime we will respond to within one working day and develop an action plan with the customer within two working days of this contact.

You should also contact the police if the ASB is of a criminal nature.

How does Homes Plus deal with a report of ASB?

The officer dealing with your ASB case will be your neighbourhood officer. At all stages through the investigation of the case we will take a victim centred approach ensuring that communication is maintained.

At the start of each case an action plan will be created with you detailing what action we will take with timescales. It will also be made clear to you what action is required from you to ensure a successful resolution.

Throughout the case we will keep in regular contact with you and give you updates on how the case is progressing or request further information.

Depending on the severity of the nuisance we may just visit the perpetrator and remind them of their tenancy conditions and consequences of not abiding by them. For more serious cases, we may consider immediate legal action.

We may involve the police or other statutory agencies in the case and will normally inform you of doing so. However, in cases of emergency, or if we believe that a crime has happened, this may not always be possible.

Closing ASB cases

We may close a case when one or more of the following happens:

  • The customer confirms that the issues have been resolved
  • Both parties confirm that mediation or other action has proved to be a success
  • The perpetrator leaves
  • We feel that there is no further action that we can take. If this outcome applies, we will ensure that we are clear about the reasoning for this
  • The customer is not cooperating with us, where the requests are reasonable and they have no justifiable reason for doing so

We will seek clear feedback at the close of a case, which will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the service we deliver.

 

Supporting victims and witnesses of ASB

We will endeavour to support all victims and witnesses throughout the process, in return we ask for cooperation in any action we may take. It is important that we are kept up-to-date with recent incidents and they are accurately recorded. Should the case go to court then we normally ask for the attendance of witnesses to give evidence. Full support will be given to enable this to happen.

Other options available to us

We may take a number of actions to resolve ASB and will agree appropriate actions with the victim.

These options may include:

  • Mediation/restorative justice warning letters
  • Acceptable behaviour contracts
  • Injunctions
  • Good neighbour agreement
  • Possession orders
  • Action related to the tenancy agreement, such as applying for a demotion
  • An injunction or undertaking

We also recognise that dealing with ASB is often best done in partnership with others. We may identify situations where our partners have more appropriate tools to deal with the issues. These tools may include:

  • Community protection notices
  • Closure orders
  • Prosecutions under environmental protection legislation
  • Tenancy actions from other landlords (social or private)

Where another agency is leading on the action, we will consider what support we may be able to offer, such as providing any information we hold.

How can I report fly-tipping, graffiti or grounds issues?

You can report any fly-tipping, graffiti or grounds issues by completing our online form below:

Report communal issues form

You can also report any issues by:

Calling: 0800 048 8955  

Writing to:
Homes Plus
Acton Court, Acton Gate
Stafford, ST18 9AP

Who else can I report ASB to?

If you are the victim of ASB you can report it to any of the following organisations:

South Staffordshire Council01902 696000
Staffordshire PoliceEmergency 999  Non-emergency 101
Staffordshire Victim Gateway03300 881 339
Citizens Advice03444 111 444
Online @ Report-it.org.uk
Online @ www.sstaffs.gov.uk
Shropshire Council0345 678 9020
West Mercia Police0300 333 3000 or 101
Victim Support01743 362812
Online @www.shropshire.gov.uk
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