As some government restrictions remain in place, we know people are still spending more time at home than usual. It’s always important to us that our residents live together in an environment of respect and tolerance.
We take antisocial behaviour (ASB) very seriously; and we’ll do all we can to help tackle it. We encourage communities to do the same. We use a range of preventative measures, early intervention and legal action to tackle ASB. This includes the full range of tools and powers available to us as outlined in the ASB, Policing and Crime Act 2014. We also work closely with other partners such as the police and councils.
ASB case numbers have increased considerably this year in comparison with previous years. This is most likely a result of lockdown, where people have been spending more time at home than usual.
What is antisocial behaviour?
Generally antisocial behaviour (ASB) is any action that can cause nuisance or annoyance to anyone. ASB can affect some people more than others so we always look at things on a case by case basis to understand the individual’s experience and the impact the behaviour has on them.
Before reporting ASB to us
If it is safe and possible to do so, try speaking to your neighbour first. It’s possible that your neighbour isn’t aware that they’re causing you a problem.
We’ll record any reports of ASB but will only act when we consider there is genuine ASB or behaviour which is caused by someone acting unreasonably. We expect that in most circumstances people will be able to resolve disputes between themselves. We don’t get involved in disagreements over things like unallocated parking or children falling out with each other, unless there is an element of abusive or criminal behaviour involved. If you are struggling to resolve an issue with your neighbour, we can refer you to mediation services to assist you. Mediation is a free independent service which help to resolve a wide range of disputes.
We won’t usually investigate
- A one-off event – unless it involves an element of crime or abuse that has also been reported to the appropriate agency such as the police
- Everyday living noise and use of a property (lights being switched on or off, footsteps, doors closing and opening, use of household appliances, people talking, low-level sound from TV/radio)
- Breaches of Covid-19 laws. We expect all our residents to follow the government rules, but we don’t have any powers to act against anyone breaking them, unless they are convicted of an offence. So, it’s important that you report any concerns to the police in the first instance. To report a breach, visit Kent Police website or if you live in Sussex, please visit the Sussex Police website. We work closely with the police and they’ll let us know if they’re concerned about the behaviour of individual households.
Noise is the type of nuisance most often reported to us. Although noise can be a real nuisance to people, it isn’t always anti-social behaviour.
Before taking any action, we’ll decide if the noise is unreasonable, based on several factors including:
- The duration, frequency and intensity
- What time it occurs (“reasonable hours” are usually classed as 7am–11pm)
- If it is a one-off or continuing problem
- If noise is being made deliberately
Living in close proximity to your neighbours you will hear them from time to time and we expect everyone to show respect and tolerance towards each other. We appreciate that it can be more difficult at the moment, but noise from things like children playing, occasional arguing, babies crying, dogs barking, gardening or DIY are not usually considered anti-social behaviour and neighbours are expected to accept this type of noise as part of everyday living.
If you feel that the noise is excessive and at unreasonable hours, then please contact your local authority’s noise team. Their details can be found by visiting www.gov.uk/report-noise-pollution-to-council. They’ll be able to advise you as to when it is appropriate for you to make contact with us, or they may contact us on your behalf.
Please keep a note or diary of what date and time the noise occurs and how it affected you. This might be useful if the noise continues and we need to act.
Concerns for safety
If you are concerned about the safety or well being of a neighbour, friend or family member and think that they are in immediate harm or danger please call 999. You can also call the non-emergency number on 101 to raise concerns.
If there are children involved, you can also contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or your local authority Child Protection Scheme via www.gov.uk.
If you are concerned for the safety or welfare of an animal, please contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 555
For some of us, ongoing restrictions are a very daunting prospect. You may be concerned about your own safety because of someone else in your household. We would encourage you to speak out and get advice on how to manage your situation. You can do that by calling us, or you may prefer to call the National Domestic Violence Helpline for free on 0808 2000 247. For further support on domestic abuse, please visit this webpage.
Once you have contacted one of these agencies please contact us to let us know.
Next steps – when you report ASB to us
With your permission we’ll refer you to a Neighbourhood Manager or Community Safety Officer who will discuss possible actions and agree an action plan with you.
We may also refer you to a sustainment casework officer if you need additional advice or support.
Please remember, if you’ve been assaulted, threatened with violence, had your property intentionally damaged, or if another criminal act was involved, please report this to the police before contacting us and have the crime reference number available.