Preventing anti-social behaviour
Antisocial behaviour is a range of behaviours that can cause nuisance and annoyance or harm and distress to a person. It is a wide range of unacceptable activity.
The power of local residents within your community should not be overlooked.
There are many ways in which local residents can have greater effect on the problem than you realise.
Examples of anti-social behaviour include:
- Noise – including loud music, DIY at unsocial hours, loud parties at unsocial hours
- Shouting, swearing and fighting
- Intimidation through threats or actual violence
- Verbal abuse
- Abusive behaviour aimed at causing distress or fear to certain people e.g elderly/ disabled
- Driving in an inconsiderate or careless way, e.g drivers congregating for racing/car cruising
- Dumping rubbish
- Animal nuisance, including dog fouling, dogs barking
- Vandalism, property damage and graffiti
- Antisocial drinking
Who is available to tackle ASB?
Many neighbour issues can be resolved with an amicable conversation between parties without the need to contact the landlord.
In some circumstances it will be appropriate to contact the landlord, even if the landlord is not able to assist directly, they should be able to provide information about who you should contact.
Social landlords have a wide range of powers to help them deal with anti-social behaviour that takes place in or is related to the homes they supply. However, these are powers rather than duties, and it is up to the social landlord to decide how best to deal with individual cases. The Government cannot intervene in individual cases and cannot direct a landlord to take a particular course of action.
Social landlords include:
- housing authorities
- registered social landlords
- housing cooperatives
- housing action trusts
Fire and rescue services can prevent anti-social behaviour and intervene early to tackle it by:
- arson reduction initiatives in terms of rubbish and abandoned vehicles
- working with young people who are fire setters
- young fire fighters associations
- mapping 'hotspots' for rubbish and vehicle arsons
- mapping the misuse of the 999 system.
- many services have community safety units that can offer advice.
Community organisations / champions
Within any community there will be invaluable activists and champions who care about their community and work tirelessly to improve life for all. Organisations that play a role in tackling anti-social behaviour include:
- Church-based or faith groups, providing activities for young people
- Neighbourhood watch, keeping an eye on what’s happening in the local area
- Youth based groups such as youth clubs, scouts, brownies, guides and boys brigades.
Tenants / resident’s organisations
Many communities have tenants groups or associations, at which anti-social behaviour is a frequent topic. In some local authority areas management boards have been created to help run housing estates. These give tenants an active voice in the provision of services, including tackling anti-social behaviour. Contact your local housing department to find out if a board exists in your area.
Tenants’ compacts are agreements between local authority housing departments and local residents about service provision in their area, including tackling crime and anti-social behaviour.
Charities / independent organisations
There are a wide range of voluntary organisations that have a role and an interest in tackling anti-social behaviour:
- Victim Support provides support to victims of crime.
- Age UK can support elderly people who are victims of anti-social behaviour, as well as helping elderly perpetrators to live independently.
- MIND provides voluntary support for those with mental health issues, who may be victims or perpetrators of anti-social behaviour.
- NSPCC & Barnardos provide child protection and support to children.
- Salvation Army supports people with housing, alcohol or substance misuse issues, who can be perpetrators of anti-social behaviour.
- Citizens Advice provide free advice on legal issues, benefit claims, housing, and debt. Victims of anti-social behaviour can be given help finding services, and perpetrators can seek legal advice about action that is being taken against them.
- Crime Concern supports innovation and how best to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Making key links with other local business owners can have a significant impact on crime and antisocial behaviour.
Retailers, particularly small stores, are often victims of anti-social behaviour. When a business suffers from anti-social behaviour, the community often pays the price in increased costs of goods, higher insurance premiums and potential loss of investment by businesses in the local area.
Many commercial businesses are becoming involved in community initiatives to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime, particularly in areas of deprivation.
Their views and information can be critical in shaping a campaign against anti-social behaviour. They will know the issues that affect them most. It may be tackling begging next to cash points, stopping street drinking or prostitution in a particular area, making a specific shopping parade safer by dealing with intimidating groups.
Businesses can also help by taking a stand in their community, taking action against those who behave anti-socially on or outside their premises and not selling alcohol to underage young people.
Read more about how commercial businesses can help prevent anti-social behaviour by visiting the Cambridge Business Against Crime (CAMBAC) website.
Neighbourhood Police officers
- Community beat officers have responsibility for working with partners at a community level to develop sustainable solutions to anti-social behaviour problems. For example they might refer neighbours who are involved in a dispute to the local mediation service, or ensure that a young person involved in youth disorder is able to access local initiatives such as a youth inclusion programme.
Police Community Support Officers
- Police community support officers (PCSOs) are employed by the police to tackle anti-social behaviour in the community and improve the quality of life there. They provide a visible patrolling presence and an effective crime deterrent.
- PCSOs spend much of their time on patrol in communities, and can be approached with any questions or worries you have about anti-social behaviour or crime in an area.
- They have a range of powers, for example they can issue fixed penalty tickets for minor anti-social behaviour and demand the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner. They may also confiscate alcohol being consumed in a public place, and seize vehicles that are being used to potentially harm other people
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