What is Anti-Social Behaviour?
What is anti-social behaviour and how can you deal with it?
Please remember everyone is different.
Many neighbours have different values and opinions and sometimes this can cause problems. But everyone has a right to live their life, and part of being a good neighbour is allowing some give and take.
We do not regard the following things as anti-social behaviour:
- Noise from children at play
- Family disputes
- Babies crying
- Sounds of normal living such as doors opening and closing and people going up and down stairs
- Occasional events such as birthday parties and BBQ’s, provided they don’t cause unreasonable disturbance
- Clashes of lifestyle, which can occur for all sorts of reasons, including cultural differences and unusual food smells
We deal with the issues listed above as Neighbour Disputes rather than anti-social behaviour.
What is meant by anti-social behaviour?
When a person’s behaviour is clearly unacceptable, it is called anti-social behaviour (ASB).
This includes things like:
Download our ASB Policy
- Intimidating people
- Illegal drug activity
- Behaviour resulting from alcohol abuse
- Repeatedly playing loud music
- Noisy visitors
- Constant shouting
- Letting a dog bark constantly
- Domestic abuse
Ways you can resolve problems with a neighbour
Step 1: Try Talking
Talk through your problem first with a friend or relative. This can sometimes help make it clearer in your mind. Before you approach your neighbour to discuss the issue, think about what you want to say and what you want to achieve. Be clear about the problem. Try and explain how you feel and how it’s affecting you.
Most people do not realise they are causing a problem. So you may find they are reasonable if you go and talk to them. Talk to them calmly as you are more likely to get a positive response this way. Please try not to lose your temper or use threatening or abusive language.
Be willing to listen if your neighbour says they have a problem about your behaviour and be prepared to negotiate. You may find you can resolve your differences together. Avoid interrupting when they’re talking.
Try to reach an understanding with your neighbour that suits you both. Please be considerate towards your neighbours, for example, if you are planning a party or an event that may impact them please let them know.
If your neighbour is unreasonable, leave the discussion and move to Step 2.
Step 2: Mediation
After listening to each other’s views, if you’re unable to reach an agreement, mediation might help you both.
Mediation is an informal, confidential and independent service available to help neighbours sort out their differences and reach an agreement. Mediators are experienced in dealing with a range of disputes including:
- Behaviour of young people and visitors
- Fences and boundaries
- Parking spaces
Mediators can help you and your neighbours understand each other’s point of view and reach a solution. If mediation is appropriate, we will discuss it further with you and give you more information.
What can we do to help if things don’t improve?
We’re committed to promoting a safe, peaceful environment where everyone can enjoy their home and the local area. Where necessary, we’ll work with all relevant agencies to achieve this. You can contact us by phone, in writing, in person, email or by completing our online form. We’ll let you know we’ve received your report and we will agree an action plan with you.
What will happen if I make a report?
We deal with all reports promptly and sensitively. Please note reports take us time to deal with. We’ll discuss your report with you in confidence and won’t reveal your identify to your neighbour or anybody else unless you agree to this. We will agree an action plan with you which takes into account your circumstances and the nature of the problem. This plan will include:
- actions for you – for example, writing down the dates and times when problems happen, keeping in contact with us, letting us know how the problems are affecting you and telling us if anyone else is being affected.
- actions for us – for example, speaking to the person causing the problem, talking to other agencies (such as the Police) and keeping in regular contact with you.
- agreed timescales for reporting back to each other
We refer domestic abuse cases to our specialist partner agencies such as ESDAS.
Wherever possible we try to sort out disputes as quickly as possible, but you do need to keep us up to date. If you do not give us updated information within two weeks, we may consider the matter has been resolved and close the case.
In more serious cases and as a last resort, we may need to take Court action. For us to do this, we will need good supporting evidence to put before the Court which is why we need you to keep good records of what is happening and when.
We’ll give you diary sheets so you can record evidence. We’ll explain how to complete them and what to do with them next.
How do we decide what action to take?
We look at the following when considering what our next steps will be:
- The type of behaviour
- The severity and frequency of incidents
- The available evidence
- The effect of the behaviour on you
- Who else is being affected?
- Whether the people whose behaviour is causing problems have been given an opportunity to change it (depending on its severity) and whether it has improved
- Any disabilities known to us of those being affected and the alleged perpetrators
- What other interventions have been considered or tried so far
Types of legal action available to us:
If all other courses of action have failed and the anti-social behaviour continues, we will consider legal action.
We need precise details of the problem to use as evidence in Court. It is very important you help us gather these detailed records. We will try to avoid any delays, but we can only work within the timescales of the Court services and we may have to wait some time for a Court hearing.
The main types of legal action we use are:
- An Injunction; this means asking the Court for an order to force the person causing the nuisance to stop.
- A Court Undertaking; this is an agreement the person causing the nuisance makes with the Court to stop the anti-social behaviour. If the problems continue we can go back to Court to ask for a more severe or restrictive order.
- A Suspend Possession Order; this means asking the Court for an order to evict the person causing the anti-social behaviour (or allowing it the behaviour to happen in their home) but suspending this order on agreed terms. If the terms are broken and the anti-social behaviour continues, then we can apply for a full possession order for eviction.
We will only apply to Court to evict a tenant as a last resort and only for extreme anti-social behaviour which continues over a period of time.
There are other enforcement powers available to local authorities and Police. From time to time we will work with them either stop the anti-social behaviour continuing or in extreme cases, to regain possession of a property.
For emergencies 999
For non-emergencies 101
Visit www.police.uk and enter your postcode to find details of your local Police neighbourhood team.
East Surrey Mediation
Are you going through a seperation or divorce? Seperation and divorce can be a stressful, lonely and worring time. Family Mediation can help.
East Surrey Mediation offer an impartial third party to help you, your family and neighbours find a way to work things out.
www.myneighbour.org.uk - 0208 144 5612
enquiries@ESCM.org.uk – 01737 248559
Visit www.direct.gov.uk and follow the links to enter your postcode to find details of your local council and other local services.
For children and young people reporting or concerned about bullying or abuse.
0800 11 11
To report a crime anonymously.
0800 555 111 or www.crimestoppers-uk.org
Talk to Frank (FRANK)
The Governments’ national drugs helpline. Offers free confidential drugs’ information and advice.
0800 776 600
Provides information and emotional support for male victims of domestic abuse.
01823 334 244
National Domestic Violence Helpline
Runs in partnership with Women’s Aid and Refuge. It provides support and advice for victims, their families and others calling on their behalf.
0808 2000 247
East Surrey Domestic Abuse Services (ESDAS)
Help & support for male & female survivors of domestic abuse
Raven Housing Trust
24-hour reporting line for incidents of antisocial behaviour
0300 123 3399
Stop Hate UK
For information and advice and to report incidents of hate crime.
0800 138 1625
Help for victims of crime.
0845 30 30 900