Antisocial Behaviour (ASB) Policy

1.0    Scope

1.1 This policy applies to all Estuary Housing Association (EHA) Staff and Contractors. It sets  out our commitment to tackling anti-social behaviour experienced by EHA customers, Staff and Contractors and other Residents within a neighbourhood.

1.2 This policy applies where the alleged perpetrator is an EHA Customer (s) or where an EHA customer is also affected by the behaviour.

1.3 Anti-social behaviour experienced in an area where we have no stock and no EHA customer is involved will fall outside of our jurisdiction. However, when we receive reports that fall into this category we will signpost complainants to the Police and local authority.

 

2.0  Definition

2.1 The Housing Act 1996 as amended sets out the following definitions of anti-social behaviour in the context of applying for an injunction:

  • Conduct which is capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person and which directly or indirectly relates to, or affects, the housing management functions of a relevant landlord.
  • Conduct which consists of or involves using or threatening to use housing accommodation owned or managed by a relevant landlord for an unlawful purpose.

2.2 Section 2 (1) of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 sets out the meaning of Anti-Social Behaviour as:

  • Conduct has caused or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person;
  • Conduct capable of causing a nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of a residential premises or;
  • Conduct capable of causing housing related nuisance or annoyance to any person.

2.3 Section 2 (1) (b) applies only where the Injunction under Section 1 is applied for by a Housing Provider, Local Authority or Chief of Police, however, these definitions can be used more broadly as well in the definition of anti-social behaviour that we can take action against as a social landlord.

  • The term Anti-social Behaviour is used to describe actions that unreasonably interfere with an occupiers use of their home, garden or neighbourhood. EHA work to improve people’s life chances by providing homes and reliable services to customers helping to build sustainable communities where people want to live and work.
  • The Housing Management function of the landlord covers any activity that the landlord would undertake in the day to day and strategic management of their properties.

 

3.0 Legislation 

3.1 We will comply with and use the following legislation as part of our anti-social behaviour approach:

  • Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 which makes provision for tackling Anti-social Behaviour crime and disorder, including provision for recovery of possession.
  • Housing Act 1985, 1988 and 2004 which set out tenancy rights and responsibilities, providing remedies to deal with problems of anti-social behaviour.
  • Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 which requires us to prepare and publish statements of our policies and procedures on anti-social behaviour and builds on the provisions in the 1996 Housing Act around anti-social behaviour injunctions, demoted tenancies and possession on anti-social behaviour grounds.
  • Family Law Act 1996, Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which legislate specifically around harassment and domestic abuse (as detailed in our Harassment and Domestic Abuse Policies)
  • Public Order Act 1986, Crime and Disorder Act 1998, Criminal Justice and
  • Police Act 2001, Police Reform Act 2002, Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 and the Police and Justice Act 2006 which set out provisions for combating crime and disorder, including penalties that can be applied, parenting orders and anti-social behaviour orders.
  • Environmental Protection Act 1990, Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act 1993, Noise Act 1996 and the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environments Act 2005 which cover action that can be take to deal with noise nuisance, littering, fly tipping and control of dogs.
  • Homelessness Act 2002 which governs the conditions under which possession may or may not be sought.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which sets out principles about the use and sharing of personal information covered by the Act.
  • Equality Act 2010 which requires us to ensure that in dealing with allegations of ant-social behaviour we do not discriminate against an individual.
  • Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003 which requires us to ensure that we do not discriminate against an individual because of their race.
  • Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2016 which regulates the interception of communications, the acquisition and disclosure of communication data, the carrying of covert surveillance in private premises and vehicles or in public places but likely to obtain private information about a particular person.

There are separate policies and procedures covering Harassment and Domestic Abuse which are closely linked to the ASB Policy.

 

4.0 Policy Statement & Aims     

4.1 EHA are committed to working in partnership with our customers and other agencies to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour in order to develop safer and stronger communities. We aim to:

4.2 Prevent anti-social behaviour using a variety of tools and powers and social interventions, including clear communication of our expectations.

4.3 To raise awareness amongst residents, staff and other relevant stakeholders of the tools and powers available to tackle ASB.

4.4 To assess the vulnerability of the complainant at the earliest opportunity and prioritise cases based on a harm centred approach.

4.5 To deal promptly, proportionately, objectively and sensitively with reports of anti-social behaviour by using a partnership approach and supporting complainants.

4.4 To work with alleged perpetrators to change their behaviour where possible, seeking possession as a last resort.


5.0 Categorising Anti-social Behaviour

5.1 EHA has adopted the Housemark categories of ASB to enable effective benchmarking with other Associations as listed below:

  • Noise
  • Verbal abuse / Harassment / Intimidation / Threatening behaviour
  • Hate related incidents
  • Vandalism and damage to property
  • Pets and animal nuisance
  • Nuisance from vehicles
  • Drugs / Substance misuse / Drug dealing
  • Alcohol related
  • Domestic abuse
  • Physical violence (other than DA)
  • Litter / Rubbish / Fly-tipping
  • Garden nuisance
  • Misuse of communal areas / loitering
  • Prostitution
  • Criminal behaviour

5.2 Not all reports relating to behaviour that impacts on an individual can be deemed anti-social behaviour or a statutory nuisance. The following are some examples:

  • Children playing
  • Babies crying
  • Sounds of day to day living such as opening and closing of doors or going up and down stairs
  • One-off parties providing they don’t cause an unacceptable disturbance
  • Clashes of lifestyle, including cultural differences
  • Personal differences such as staring or fall outs between children
  • Comments made on Social Media sites

5.3 We will work to manage residents expectations in regards to behaviour which is not deemed Anti-social.  We will offer advice and guidance to encourage residents to deal or manage the situation themselves.

 

6.0 Objectives

6.1 Our response to allegations of ASB will be proportionate and appropriate. EHA commits to the following objectives:

  • Taking steps to prevent all forms of anti-social behaviour and that action taken is done in accordance with legislation and appropriate good practice.
  • Early intervention.
  • Developing a consistent and co-ordinated approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.
  • Taking effective and appropriate action against those responsible for anti-social behaviour, working in partnership with other agencies.
  • Offering support to complainants.
  • Implement a framework for monitoring and improving our approach, and the development of action plans.
  • Sharing information with partners (in accordance with GDPR).
  • Providing appropriate and effective training for staff and customers.
  • Raising awareness about the existence of community initiatives.

 

7.0 Residents Responsibilities

We expect our tenants:

7.1 Not to cause or allow members of their household or invited guests to cause a nuisance or annoyance or act in such a way that is likely to cause a nuisance or annoyance to neighbours or other Tenants of the Association or to employees, agents or contractors of the Association or to anyone visiting or otherwise engaged in lawful activity in the locality of the premises

7.2 Not to use the premises for any illegal or immoral purposes.
    
7.3 Neither to commit, nor allow members of his or her household or invited visitors to commit, any bias-motivated crime, on the grounds of race, ethnicity, religion, class, nationality, age, gender identification, sexual orientation or disability that may interfere with the peace and comfort of, or cause offence to other persons in the neighbourhood or to any Tenant, employee, agent or contractor of the Association.

7.4 Neither to commit, nor allow members of his or her household or invited visitors to commit any harassment or threat of harassment to other persons in the neighbourhood or to any tenant, employee, agent, or contractor of the Association.
    
7.5 Not to hinder, obstruct, threaten, abuse or assault any employee, agent, or contractor of the Association and not to allow any member of their household, visitors or friends to do so.

7.6 Neither to play, nor allow to be played, any television, audio equipment, or musical instrument so loudly that it causes a nuisance or annoyance to other persons in the neighbourhood or can be heard outside the Premises at any time.

7.7 Leaseholders and shared owners are also covered by this policy and are expected to refrain from anti-social behaviour.

7.8 The Association may seek possession if the Tenant or a person residing in or visiting the premises is convicted of an indictable offence, committed in or in the locality of the Premises, or using the Premises, or allowing them to be used, for immoral/illegal purposes.

7.9 In addition to the legal responsibilities set out in the tenancy or lease agreement we will encourage all residents to:

  • Take responsibility for minor personal disputes with their neighbours and try to resolve any such problems in a reasonable manner.
  • Report all crimes, including threats or acts of violence, to the Police.
  • Respect others right to their chosen lifestyle and be tolerant of everyday living.
  • Work and cooperate fully to resolve disputes by attending mediation, providing diary sheets/witness statements and attending court if necessary.
  • To show consideration to neighbours and not to cause a nuisance to them, their guests or Association staff and contractors.

 

8.0 Service Standards

8.1 Estuary is signed up to the ‘Respect Standard’, that was created in 2006 and encompasses 6 core areas:

  1. Accountability, Leadership and Commitment
  2. Empowering and Reassuring Residents
  3. Prevention and Early Intervention
  4. Tailored services for residents and provision of support for victims and witnesses
  5. Protecting communities through swift enforcement
  6. Support to tackle the causes of anti social behaviour

8.2 Although the Respect Taskforce was absorbed into the Youth Taskforce during 2008 the Respect Standard continues to be supported by Communities and a large proportion of Registered Providers are signed up, and continue to promote its principals.

8.3 We aim to deal quickly and effectively with all cases to resolve them at the earliest opportunity.  We will record anonymous reports, but only take action if the ASB can be substantiated and additional evidence gained.

8.4 Counter allegations will be treated as separate cases and action will be taken based on the evidence available.

 

9.0 Partnership Working

9.1 We will play an active role in local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) or Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) and other local and regional forums which work to reduce antisocial behaviour in areas where we own and manage stock.

9.2 We will partner with the police, local housing and education authorities, social services, support providers, Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) or Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs), Multi Agency Risk Assessment Committees (MARACs), Drugs and Alcohol Action Teams (DAATs), youth offending teams, probation services, family intervention projects, mediation services, voluntary sector organisations and all other relevant bodies.

9.3 We will participate in the development of effective information sharing protocols with all relevant partners, for the purposes of tackling antisocial behaviour, within the requirements of GDPR.

9.4 We will work with relevant advice and support providers to facilitate easy referrals and improve the overall service received by victims, witnesses and perpetrators.

9.5 We will work closely with other organisations to ensure a holistic and coordinated approach to dealing with problems of antisocial behaviour, avoiding duplication of effort.

9.6 Where managing agents manage properties on our behalf they will be required to meet the requirements of this policy.

 

10.0 Protection of Staff

10.1 EHA acknowledges that our staff, agents and contractors are entitled to expect to work in an environment that is safe, secure and free from fear of violence, threats of violence or abuse. As such any behaviour of this nature directed at staff, agents or contractors is deemed to be unacceptable and appropriate action will be taken against those responsible.

 

11.0 Monitoring and Evaluations

11.1 Monitoring of ASB cases will be done on a regular basis at a local level

11.2 We will monitor ASB case handling satisfaction levels and survey responses to improve our ASB service.

11.3 ASB will be monitored against a defined spectrum of key performance indicators (KPI).  

11.4 When issues of under performance are identified, strategies will be developed in consultation and partnership with the Federation of Estuary Residents in order to rectify such matters. The Association will publish annually the KPI’s according to consultation with residents.

 

12.0 Equality and Diversity

12.1 The Association will make every effort to meet the needs of our residents when implementing this Policy.

12.2 We are committed to supporting customers and staff to access information in a way that suits individual needs.

Review Date: May 2020 (two-yearly or as per change in legislation)