Reporting antisocial behaviour
To report antisocial behaviour (ASB), get in touch with us.
- Download our incident diary sheet
Before completing an incident diary sheet, you may wish to contact us for advice and to flag your concerns.
This is your record of what has occurred, and you should complete as soon as possible when the incident is fresh in your mind. They should be completed accurately, truthfully, and without personal or inflammatory comments about the person or address recorded.
When we receive the incident diary sheets we will assess and let you know how we can support you, whether the issue constitutes ASB, and if so, what action we can take against the person responsible.
What is antisocial behaviour?
The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives a legal definition of ASB, describing it as:
“Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person;
Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises; or
Conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.”
Examples of antisocial behaviour
Antisocial behaviour can span a wide range of issues, including one-off incidents of a criminal nature, such as violence or threats of violence. We can and do pursue enforcement action including legal remedies for such serious one-off incidents. General one-off incidents of a lesser nature may be dealt with at the first point of contact. However, antisocial behaviour often refers to more entrenched issues which require ongoing case management. Such case management explores the issues behind the situation, building up a bundle of evidence of the antisocial behaviour, whilst using pre-action tools and attempts to remedy the problem with agency partners, before reverting to legal action if this becomes necessary.
Examples of antisocial behaviour include:
- Dog fouling, and uncontrolled and noisy pets
- Vehicle nuisance where there is an antisocial behaviour element
- Noise nuisance at elevated levels or unreasonable hours
- Environmental health issues such as rubbish dumping or fly-tipping
- Vandalism and graffiti
- Drug misuse
- Alcohol-related nuisance
- Prostitution-related activity
- Incidents involving hate crime or harassment, including verbal and physical abuse and threats
- Acts of violence
- Domestic abuse
Hate crime and harassment should always be reported as a crime to the police: in an emergency, call 999 - or call 101 for non-emergencies.
If you are in danger and need the police, but cannot speak:
- Dial 999
- Listen to the questions from the operator
- Respond by coughing or tapping the handset if you can
- If prompted, press 55 (this lets them know that it is a genuine emergency and you'll be put through to the police).
Are you struggling with noise issues?
We recognise that third-party noise can have a negative impact on day-to-day living. Take a look at our noise webpage for information including details on other agencies dealing with noise. You will also find suggestions on how to tackle nuisance, and information on what would ordinarily be considered nuisance in law and under a tenancy/lease. You will also find details on the use of a free-of-charge noise app to record and report noise directly to us for us to review.
Red Kite – tackling antisocial behaviour by working with our multi-agency partners
We place the utmost importance on collaborative working between different agencies to determine the most appropriate solution to problems. This provides the bedrock for tackling antisocial behaviour in our communities by sharing knowledge and working to joint plans, which helps achieve positive results. We are members of various local groups and attendees at the Local Authority Antisocial Behaviour Action Group (ASBAG).
The Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 emphasises the importance of cooperation and provides guidance to agencies working with others to ensure that victims of antisocial behaviour do not feel they are being passed from one agency to another.
The act includes six remedies, some of which can be used by the police and local authorities, and others by registered social landlords like Red Kite. These are:
- Civil injunctions: These can be used to stop someone from behaving in a way that is causing nuisance, distress, and annoyance. Can be used by: police, local authority, registered social landlord.
- Criminal Behaviour Orders: These can be imposed on someone convicted of a crime if the court thinks they will continue to cause antisocial behaviour without an order being in place.
Can be used by: police.
- Community Protection Notices (and pre-warnings): These are designed to stop ongoing environmental and personal antisocial behaviour. They can be used against individuals or organisations.
Can be used by: police, local authority, registered social landlord where delegated powers exist.
- Public Spaces Protection Order: These can be used to tackle a particular nuisance or problem in a public area. The order will apply to everyone using that area - examples might be a no-dog zone or no alcohol consumption.
Can be used by: police, local authority.
- Closure powers and dispersal powers: These involve the closure of premises to prevent or deal with public nuisance and disorder, and involve the issuing of a closure notice followed by a closure order. We can then use this to repossess a property.
Can be used by: police, local authority.
The Act also introduced two new measures in relation to local involvement and accountability:
- Community Review (also known as Community Trigger): this gives victims the right to demand that agencies deal with persistent antisocial behaviour through a multi-agency review of their case.
- Community Remedy: this is where a person who has engaged in antisocial behaviour does not go to court but is required to carry out actions agreed by the victim. Examples include a written apology, paying for any damage, mediation, or the signing of an Acceptable Behaviour Contract. This provides victims in specific cases with an opportunity to have a say in the punishment of the offender.
We make extensive use of the powers open to us directly and by supporting others to use their powers to tackle complex antisocial behaviour issues. These actions have included civil injunction applications, mandatory possession claims after police-led closure orders we have supported, and evidence to support Community Protection Notices. Non-legal remedies include verbal and written warnings, mediation, the use of Acceptable Behaviour Contracts (ABCs), and support/specialist agency referrals.
Where else can I get help and assistance and who else has responsibility?
We recognise that responsibility for the management of antisocial behaviour complaints can be confusing for our tenants. We strive to ensure that we have great relationships with our agency partners to mitigate and manage this issue, working on joint solutions.
In situations where immediate assistance is required because a crime is in progress or about to be committed, or if violence is being used or threatened, the police should be contacted on 999. If the incident does not require an emergency response phone 101. When you do this, please then provide us with details, including any crime reference number provided and the names and numbers of any police officers involved. We can then communicate with the police and work alongside them where necessary. The police should always be the first point of contact for criminal matters.
We work closely with local authorities where we have housing stock. They have different powers to us and have specific responsibilities, including some of those within the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014. They will also normally manage local groups and panels to facilitate partner working. Local authorities also have a responsibility under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to investigate and act where a noise is a statutory nuisance.
Contact details and sources of information
Activities not considered to be antisocial behaviour
Problems caused by differences in lifestyles or everyday living situations are not usually considered to be antisocial behaviour.
Some noise may be considered a source of irritation by the person hearing it, but to be dealt with as antisocial behaviour it needs to be considered a statutory nuisance - our noise webpage explains what this means.
The following noise is generally considered to be 'household' noise, which is noise not considered statutory in nature:
- Sounds of everyday life, such as footfall, closing doors, going up and down stairs
- Sounds of babies or children crying, upset, or playing, including children or adults with neuro development disorders such as autism or ADHD which affect communication, behaviour, and interactions
- Toilets flushing or other bathroom activity such as showering
- DIY noise taking place at reasonable hours
Other things that are not usually considered as antisocial behaviour include:
- Smells from cooking
- One-off parties or barbecues
- Occasional dog barking or other noise from pets
- Lifestyle or cultural differences
- Gossip, minor personal differences and discussions, including comments on social media and perceived 'dirty looks'
- Use of a doorbell, CCTV, or other home security equipment
Ordinarily these activities cannot be dealt with via enforcement/legal action by us through respective tenancy agreements or leases and legal action.
What else can we do to help?
As a responsible landlord, we will seek to provide an explanation when matters cannot be treated as antisocial behaviour. We will provide any assistance or referrals through other relevant policies to endeavour to assist.
Free conflict resolution and mediation
Those experiencing antisocial behaviour can feel that it is taking over their life. It impacts on family relationships, amenity and relaxation in your home, and work and careers. We think it is important that we do what we can to stop that happening, and as such work in conjunction with Mediation Bucks to facilitate a free service to our tenants. We encourage the use of conflict resolution via a referral to provide advice, one-to-one coping strategies and coaching, and if appropriate, mediation between neighbours to seek consensus and agreement through workable and constructive solutions to demanding situations. We may also offer signposting to other agencies and provide rehousing advice depending on the nature of the problem.
If a complaint of antisocial behaviour is made and we have conducted an assessment we may arrange for a conflict resolution telephone call or other appropriate contact, whether we are managing the issue under our antisocial behaviour policy or other relevant tenancy policies. This is a key step as it provides early valuable support to the complainant. This could progress with your agreement to mediation with the neighbour either in in person, or via 'shuttling'. This is where two parties in dispute are placed in different rooms or communicated with virtually and the mediator 'shuttles' between them. Whatever the ultimate agreement and whichever process you feel is correct, it is extremely important that you engage to help deal with the problem. In those specific cases where it does become necessary to pursue subsequent legal action to stop antisocial behaviour, conflict resolution and mediation can help provide a platform to do this by demonstrating to the court that all options to resolve the problem have been attempted before court action.
Early engagement with the person causing the antisocial behaviour
Initial reporting and conversations
It can be daunting to talk to the person alleged responsible for the antisocial behaviour because you fear it will make the problem worse or the conversation is awkward. Before doing this consider your expectations and the person’s lifestyle/living circumstances. Talking about the issue can help break down barriers and avoid a build-up of stress and frustration later but it is important you consider your safety before doing this to ensure it is appropriate.
You might consider:
- Using conversation as the focus, rather than assertiveness, demands or warnings which may immediately cause a defensive response
- Often others may not be aware of their behaviour or that their actions are impacting negatively on others. The issue may simply be one of a differing lifestyle, but a simple action could reduce or stop the problem
- Trying to avoid making it personal – concentrate on the impact of the action in question not the individual. This will help the other person to understand how they might feel in the same situation with roles reversed
- Seeing if you can reach an agreement
- Moving the conversation on to more general issues - if neighbours get on it makes future dialogue much easier and fosters understanding
- Face-to-face conversation is always better, but if you feel uncomfortable doing this, we can provide good neighbour cards which can be posted with a suitable and polite observation as to the issue.
- If the issue continues, it's helpful to keep a diary of the incidents which can then be shared with us to help decide on a plan of action.
What happens when I report antisocial behaviour to you?
When antisocial behaviour is reported to us, the initial handler will consider all the information above to assess the complaint and provide initial advice to the complainant. We consider the following complainant definitions when providing our ASB service:
Witness: this is a person (tenant, member of the public or partner organisation) who has observed an incident of antisocial behaviour or crime taking place and wishes to report it to us. Our contact with this person will then be ad hoc or not at all if the person has requested this.
Victim: This is a person (tenant or member of the public) who has directly experienced antisocial behaviour causing nuisance, harassment, alarm, or distress. Our contact with this person will then normally be via a personalised action plan and agreement.
In cases where an antisocial behaviour case is logged, we will either:
- Add it is as a “record only” case where the call handler (normally a Relationship Advisor) will provide advice, signposting and close the incident. It will be left on the file and referred as required in the future. An incident number will be provided to you for your records and future use/reporting.
- Such “record only” cases are reviewed by staff, and we may conduct further direct investigation ourselves where necessary.
- If the likely threshold of antisocial behaviour has been reached according to our policy, we will ask you what you would like to happen next in terms of management. We will consider your role as a victim or witness in line with our definitions above and how best to help you.
- Where the case requires further contact and investigation it will be logged as such and reviewed by a case handler.
- A member of staff will contact you within 1 to 5 days depending on the severity of the allegation. For example, an assault or hate crime would normally be 24 hours, whereas a complaint of noise nuisance is 5 days. The purpose of this contact is to further assess the complaint, at which point an action plan will be agreed, or other advice or signposting provided. If after this conversation you wish to report the matter to us but do not necessarily want ongoing involvement, we can treat your communication with us in a witness capacity reverting back to you if required later in the process. For example, if we subsequently take legal action we may ask if you are willing to provide a witness statement either in your name, or on a hear-say basis (where your identity is kept confidential) if this is suitable.
- Where an action plan has been agreed, it will provide confirmation of what is required of you as the complainant to progress the case. This might be keeping diary sheets to record incidents of antisocial behaviour for assessment to use as evidence, using the noise app to capture noise recordings, or contacting other agencies like the police to report criminal matters. The plan will also specify what actions we will be taking to abate the problem and referrals we will be making to help you in a support capacity. Examples of measures then taken could be us interviewing the alleged perpetrator, issuing an antisocial behaviour awareness letter, a formal antisocial behaviour warning letter, or agreeing an Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) with them.
- We may also arrange for contact to be made with you by Mediation Bucks who will provide initial conflict resolution advice and an assessment. This may lead to further engagement, signposting, and referrals in order that we take every conceivable action to abate the problem and support you.
- We will then manage your complaint, examining progress, new evidence, and outcomes before case closure. If a case reverts to legal action, we will support you in this as we explain further below.
- We will always respect confidentiality and we will not give out details without your permission. The nature of the ASB incident you have experienced (for example where it is a direct incident between two individuals) may mean it is difficult to guarantee confidentiality, especially if we were to take legal action.
What occurs if a case is subject to legal action by you?
On rare occasions, we will need to progress cases to attempt a legal resolution to antisocial behaviour, if informal attempts to resolve have failed. This can be a lengthy process subject to legal challenges and processes not necessarily under our control. If you are an earlier witness to antisocial behaviour, we may ask you to be a witness either in person in court, or on a hear-say basis (where your identity is concealed). Cases are strengthened when complainants come forward and are willing to attend court in person or virtually, and we will provide any support we can to help this. It might be that we agreed when you contacted us at the start that any future communication would be as and when, so we may contact you to see what the current situation is and if you can help us.
Alternatively, as a victim, we would have already agreed an action plan leading up to this stage and been in prior contact with you. Typically, legal action remedies include a possession claim on outright (an eviction) or suspended terms (giving one further opportunity to change behaviour for a fixed term before eviction). It could involve a civil injunction claim with or without the power of arrest to curtail certain behaviour. We also support the police and local authority to obtain premises closure orders which is a remedy to stop certain visitors to a property or close a property entirely for a fixed period. Normally this is in cases where a property has been associated with disorder including drug use, cultivation/dealing or other serious antisocial behaviour. We can then use this evidence and apply for possession order under Ground 7a of the Housing Act to end the tenancy permanently.