“Mount Green is committed to tackling Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) including hate incidents and crimes, harassment or other crimes that impact someone in their home or where they live.
“The ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 provides a definition of ASB which is ‘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’.
“Mount Green take ASB very seriously and work with residents and wider community partners to manage the reports that are made to us.
“We seek to prevent it in the first place but recognise that is not always possible. The actions we take are about resolution that is proportionate to the extent of the harm being caused. This means we will intervene and where necessary enforce to ensure the safety of our residents. Every step of the way we will be working with those who have reported it as well as those who are causing it. We don’t do it alone, we use our community partnerships to support us and our residents.”
ASB includes a wide range of unacceptable behaviour that affects people’s quality of life, including:
- Noise, like loud music or noisy parties
- Verbal abuse, harassment, intimidation or threatening behaviour
- Hate crime
- Vandalism and damage to property
- Nuisance vehicle noise
- Alcohol-related disturbances
- Domestic abuse or violence
- Littering, fly-tipping, overgrown gardens or hedges
- Pet or animal nuisance
- Misuse of communal areas or public spaces
- Criminal behaviour
We will investigate any of the above. We will not normally investigate the following behaviour:
- Household noise due to everyday living (such as babies crying, doors banging, toilets flushing or vacuuming)
- Children playing
- One-off parties, barbecues or celebrations at reasonable times
- Cooking smells (once we have ruled out any possible landlord responsibility ie. ventilation routing/ducting)
- DIY in reasonable hours
- Someone parked lawfully
If you are having problems with the above, sometimes a polite discussion with your neighbour can often help. If you don’t feel confident doing this, we can give advice on how to open up dialogue. We can also make a referral to mediation. Mediation is a positive tool that can be used early on in order to reach a compromise with your neighbour- we will always suggest this as a resolution for cases like this. However, if any of the above is found to be having a significant impact on the victim, then we may investigate further.
We are committed to stopping ASB in a robust manner. We take a three-stage approach to dealing with the issue:
- Prevention – We use a number of preventative measures to stop ASB from happening. This includes carrying out inspections and being clear about our approach when a resident first move in.
- Intervention – If you have reported ASB, our first step is to assess the impact this is having on you after which we will create an action plan together. The plan includes actions for both you and us. We will ask you to keep a record of incidents and ask you to contact the Police in an emergency, especially when criminal behaviour is involved. Once we have investigated your complaint we will decide how best to respond. Our response will be proportionate to the type of ASB reported. Sometimes we may not be able to solve the problem alone and this may require a multi-agency approach with, for example the police, social services, and Environmental Health (statutory noise nuisance).
- Legal action – If the ASB continues despite early intervention, we will take legal action if evidence supports that it is reasonable to do so. We will support you and witnesses through the process and work with our partners to make the necessary application to the County Court.
What Mount Green will do about ASB:
- Offer support and guidance to victims of ASB, for example, by carrying out risk assessments and/or making referrals to support coaching, working with the police, local councils or community partners when necessary
- Ask victims or witnesses of ASB to report incidents to the appropriate agency as well as Mount Green. We will also ask you to provide evidence, such as a diary that captures nature and frequency or noise recordings, as part of our investigations
- We may offer you the use of The Noise App to enable you to log and submit short sound recordings taken on your android phone or apple device.
- Keep you updated on the progress of your report
There are a number of informal steps which we can take to try to resolve issues relating to ASB including but not limited to:
- Written warnings
- Acceptable Behaviour Agreements
- Referring vulnerable perpetrators of ASB to support services to address behaviour which may be contributing to their ASB
In some cases we need your support in obtaining a legal remedy, such as an injunction, against the perpetrator of ASB. If we decide this is the best course of action, you will be advised of this by our legal team and or a Victim and Witness Advocate and the court process will be explained.
If you have reported an ongoing problem of ASB but you do not believe that it has been dealt with, you can ask the Community Safety Partnership at your local authority to review your complaints under its ASB Case Review – also known as the Community Trigger process.
The ASB Case Review should only be used if no action has been taken as a result of repeat reporting to the council, police or Mount Green.
This process allows members of the community to ask the Community Safety Partnership to review their responses to complaints of anti-social behaviour (including incidents of hate). The ASB Case Review should only be used if no action has been taken as a result of repeat reporting of ASB (including incidents of hate). The Review cannot be used to report general acts of crime. To qualify for the ASB Case Review, the following criteria must be met:
- Three separate anti-social behaviour incidents have been reported within six months
- The Community Trigger must be submitted within a month of the last reported incident, and where it is considered that ‘no action’ has been taken
Some sample ASB cases that we have dealt with:
Working with residents to solve noise nuisance.
One of our residents was experiencing noise nuisance from the flat below. This was mainly related to the TV being on a loud volume. The resident wanted some quiet at certain times so they were able to relax and unwind but the noise was affecting their ability to do this. The resident had mentioned it to the neighbour below but was unable to bring about any change to the neighbour’s TV noise.
The resident contacted their Mount Green neighbourhood officer and the ASB was discussed. The neighbourhood officer completed a risk assessment with the resident around the ASB, showing a low risk but it did highlight specific effects that the ASB was having on the resident. This helped our neighbourhood officer determine what actions could be taken and these were proposed to the resident. Between the neighbourhood officer and the resident, a final action plan was agreed to bring about a resolution.
The first action point was writing to the neighbour in the flat below about the issue and arranging a meeting with them. The neighbour contacted the neighbourhood officer after receiving the letter and a discussion was had around the issue as well as to explain the tenancy breach. Following that, the neighbourhood officer arranged a visit to the neighbour as a follow up. When entering the neighbour’s flat, the neighbourhood officer saw the set-up of the flat and the position of the TV. Between the neighbourhood officer and the neighbour, alternative positions for the TV were looked at to lower the noise impact on the resident’s flat above. A final position was agreed upon at which point the neighbourhood officer asked the neighbour to demonstrate his normal TV viewing volume, which was loud. After some adjusting, the neighbour and neighbourhood officer identified a volume number where the neighbour could clearly hear, which was lower that it was to reduce the noise impact above.
As a follow up, the neighbourhood officer spoke to the resident and they reported they had seen a dramatic improvement. They were now happy that they weren’t experiencing the noise nuisance any more. The resident thanked the neighbourhood officer and both agreed the case could be closed. The neighbourhood officer confirmed this in writing and no further noise nuisance has been reported since.
Working in partnership with the Police to tackle anti-social behaviour through a Closure Order.
We received reports from residents about a serious incident that occurred the previous evening within our communal areas, involving a number of residents and a weapon assault. The incident was also witnessed by children playing. Our Neighbourhood Officer responded quickly and made her way to the block and enroute asked our Police colleagues to join us in order to provide reassurance.
The perpetrator had been arrested and in police custody.
When an incident like this happens, it’s important that we have a presence, speak to residents about how they are feeling and assess the impact this has had on the community through completing risk assessments with those most affected. Through a partnership approach with the Police, we talk about the impact it has had on each household, refer to other supporting agencies who can help and let residents know what we are going to do about it. In this case we knocked on each door and left a letter for those residents we weren’t able to speak to.
To assist the Police investigation and through conversations with the community, our Neighbourhood Officer was able to put together community impact statements which collectively painted a picture of how our residents felt about what had happened. This information is also shared with the local authority it occurred in and referred to a wider agency partnership for discussion known as CHARRM (Community Harm and Risk Management Meeting). At this meeting, that Mount Green are part of for each local authority, we discuss and agree actions to reduce the negative impact that problem individuals and families have on Surrey’s communities through their anti-social behaviour. Using the expertise that exists on this multi-agency group, members will share information on high-risk cases and incidents and put in place appropriate risk management plans to address the behaviour of the perpetrator and reduce the negative impact on victims.
It is also our role to liaise with the Police and update the community on any significant changes should the perpetrator be released. We help the Police deliver important messages to our residents like who to report any further incidents to and what to do in case of emergency.
Though we tackle antisocial behaviour by taking a victim centred approach, we still have a duty to the perpetrator, and we would offer them support to stop their behaviour. In some cases, tenants who are perpetrators make positive changes to do this through working with specialist agencies, but in others and certainly in this one, the incident caused significant harm and distress to the community. It was identified as a considerable tenancy breach as our residents reported breaches to bail conditions put in place to prevent further arrest. We wrote a number of letters to the perpetrator warning of the risk of losing their tenancy if their behaviour continued.
Throughout this time, we maintained weekly contact with the individual victims directly affected and where we could, shared updates that we received from the Police.
The police were successful in obtaining a full property closure order which is now in place for an initial period of three months. The order prohibits the tenant, and in this case the perpetrator, from living there and gives us, as a Landlord, an opportunity to take appropriate tenancy action in order to bring the tenancy to an end. The purpose of the order is also to bring immediate relief to the community who were suffering and additionally reduce the risk of any further serious incidents occurring.
This case has been managed in this way over a period of a month.