Antisocial behaviour policy

Hastoe recognises that antisocial behaviour (ASB) can have a significant impact on the lives of residents. The purpose of this policy is to set out Hastoe’s approach to preventing and dealing with antisocial behaviour , so that staff can work with residents and key agencies to tackle antisocial behaviour in the communities in which we operate and so that our residents enjoy peace in their homes and neighbourhoods.

Scope

This policy applies to all residents or those who have been affected by a resident of Hastoe Housing Association. We aim to build strong partnerships with our partnering agencies to reduce antisocial behaviour in our communities. For minor disputes with neighbours, we will encourage residents to resolve this prior to logging this with Hastoe as an antisocial behaviour complaint.

Definitions

Anti-Social Behaviour is defined under Section 2 of the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 as being:

  • 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.
  • We expect our resident(s), their households and their visitors not to engage in anti-social behaviour towards any person.

 Examples of antisocial behaviour includes (but is not limited to):

  • Verbal or physical abuse
  • People being drunk or rowdy in public places
  • Nuisance neighbours or problem families
  • People using or dealing drugs
  • Vandalism, graffiti and other deliberate damage to property or vehicles
  • Noisy neighbours or loud parties
  • People being insulted, pestered or intimidated
  • Abandoned or burnt out cars
  • Nuisance caused by pet

We would not consider the following to be antisocial behaviour:

  • Sounds of normal day to day living such as opening and closing doors, going up and down stairs, toilet flushing or using a washing machine
  • Clashes of lifestyle, including cultural differences
  • Minor personal differences
  • Inconsiderate parking

This list is not exhaustive but we also recognise that some of the issues can cause distress to our residents therefore, where there is doubt, we may investigate the matter further but it will be at our discretion.

Harassment

Hastoe recognises that harassment may occur in a range of circumstances and may be linked to the protected characteristics identified under the Equality & Diversity section below.

Acts of harassment include (but are not limited to):

  • Racist behaviour or language
  • Hate crimes
  • Actual or threatened violence
  • Abusive or insulting words or behaviour
  • Actual or threatened damage to another person’s home or possessions
  • Writing threatening, abusive or insulting graffiti
  • Behaviour that interferes with the peace, comfort or convenience of others

Domestic violence

Hastoe defines domestic violence as an actual or threatened act of harassment, assault or abuse (mental, physical or sexual) against any person living in the same premises. We recognise that domestic violence can occur in all sections of society and can impact upon children, family and the community.

Dealing with antisocial behaviour

We will use the powers granted to Registered Social Landlords through various legislation, namely the Housing Act 1988 and the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 appropriately and proportionately, ensuring that we properly manage the expectations of our customers and the wider community from the outset. These powers include dispute resolution, injunctions, starter and demoted tenancies.  As a last resort, we will explore possession proceedings.  

Our focus will be on the prevention and resolution of issues.  This means we shall attempt to change behaviour through out-of-court disposals and informal measures, such as early warnings.  Where the nature of the anti-social behaviour is so serious that the impact upon the victim cannot be undone, we may have no choice but to explore court proceedings immediately. 

Our case management system

We operate a case management system and will always open and investigate cases for the following circumstances:

  • hate crime
  • domestic abuse
  • drug activity
  • criminal behaviour, including violence and the threatened use of violence
  • dangerous dogs
  • noise nuisance, except for living noise

We appreciate that not all cases of antisocial behaviour will fall into these categories, therefore, all reported cases of antisocial behaviour will be rated as High, Medium and Low.  After completing a risk assessment the grade of case will be communicated to residents.  Our response times will be as follows:

  • High level ASB case – 24 working hours
  • Medium level ASB case – 48 working hours
  • Low level ASB case – 5 working days

We operate a victim centred approach to managing anti-social behaviour and we will work with those affected, often in a multi-agency response to implement long term sustainable outcomes which deal with individual incidents and community wide issues to prevent anti-social behaviour from reoccurring.  We will be clear with our residents what constitutes as ASB and what is more commonly known as unwanted or unwelcome behaviour

Responsibilities

All members of staff are responsible for dealing with or reporting incidents of antisocial behaviour to the relevant Housing Officer who will usually take the lead on case management.

Relevant staff members are aware of their responsibilities and roles in respect of tackling antisocial behaviour, this includes:

  • Early intervention and prevention measures
  • Safeguarding of vulnerable victims
  • Commitment to multi-agency working, attending relevant meetings and progressing agreed actions
  • Reviewing performance, planning for improvement, developing new approaches and adopting best practice

Multi-agency partnership working

Hastoe recognises the roles of other agencies and is committed to working in partnership with them at strategic and operational levels aiming to tackle anti-social behaviour and support complainants and witnesses.  Where it is deemed appropriate, complainants or reports may be referred to partner agencies, such as the Local Authority and the Police to deal with.  In these cases, we will support and work with them and our own records will be guided by their findings

Antisocial behaviour against Staff Members

ASB directed at our employees and contractors when representing the association is unacceptable. We will act quickly and decisively in dealing with these cases, with the focus on the protection of the member of staff or contractor  

Respect: ASB Charter for Housing

Hastoe has signed the Respect: ASB Charter for Housing and it influences our approach to managing antisocial behaviour. The key to the charter is accountability to residents. We will therefore publicise our policy towards anti-social behaviour and make it clear how seriously we take it.

Equality & Diversity

We are opposed to discrimination on any grounds including those identified as protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, or any other unjustifiable criteria.

We will provide support to our customers who have difficulty in managing their tenancy due to particular needs such as mental health problems, learning difficulties and other disabilities. Where necessary, Hastoe will engage with other service providers to ensure that additional support is given.

Hastoe will collect diversity information on all complaints of antisocial behaviour and this information will be used to actively identify if any particular groups are more likely to suffer incidents of antisocial behaviour and action will be taken to remedy this.

Review

Robust monitoring is implemented to ensure that the impact of the policy can be assessed annually, that customers are satisfied with our approach and a formal review occurs at least every three years. Residents will be consulted as part of this review to ensure the policy meets customer needs.

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