Taking on ASB: Tackling combination anti-social behaviour to bring peace back to estate
03 April 2023
When it comes to anti-social behaviour (ASB), there are instances where it’s not just one form of ASB, but a combination which can make resolving it more complicated. In this feature of ‘Taking on ASB’ we look at a situation that at first appeared to be about noise nuisance, but after our investigations it became clear that it included much more.
We always do our best to fully investigate any reports of ASB we receive and will look at all aspects of the complaint. In some situations, we find that there are safeguarding concerns that we need to take into consideration and as a result, we need to try out different approaches as the visible ASB is not always the root cause of the ASB.
Resolving recent ASB without resulting to evictions
In March 2022, we began receiving reports of noise nuisance from a home on one of our Hertford estates. Soon after, we began receiving other reports of anti-social behaviour from other residents about the same person. These complaints reported drug use, criminal damage, and harassment/intimidation.
We began our ASB investigation and spoke with the complainants, providing advice and support, and put together action plans which included recording incidents on diary sheets over a period, as well as using The Noise App. We also contacted the alleged perpetrator to let them know about the complaint. After speaking to this resident, we realised that further intervention was required as there were safeguarding concerns around their personal drug use (cannabis and heroin), as well as the frequency of visitors to their home who were also disrupting other residents on the estate. We also had concerns about this resident’s mental health and well-being. Further steps were taken to ensure they were not being subject to cuckooing, which is when a vulnerable person’s home is taken over and used for illegal activity such as dealing, storing or taking drugs. You can click here find out more about cuckooing, signs to look for and how to report it if you have any concerns or suspicions.
We began working in partnership with the police, the local authority, local mental health services, services and our Mental Health Liaison team, and the drug and alcohol recovery service. We carried out frequent announced and unannounced visits with this resident’s social worker and drug rehabilitation worker so we could engage with them in their home. We tried to put things in place to make their living situation more comfortable and ensure there was an effort made to turn their life around in the right direction.
We also carried out joint visits with the local authority’s ASB team to visit a few of the complainants. We then decided to set up a meeting which all residents on the estate were invited to attend so they could express the impact this resident’s behaviour was having on their lives. At this meeting, we re-assured residents that we were taking their reports seriously and were working in partnership with local services to resolve the issue.
After the meeting, the ASB continued. To demonstrate to the complainants that we were taking robust action, the police were able to serve a Community Protection Notice (CPN) to the resident causing the ASB, which laid out specific requests for them to adhere to. We also decided to serve the perpetrator with a Notice of Seeking Possession (NOSP) due to this breach of their tenancy. Our intention was to continue working with them to ensure they were receiving all the support necessary for them to sustain their tenancy, as ultimately, we did not want this to lead to eviction.
Once these notices were served, the resident who was causing the ASB began to realise the seriousness of the situation, and that they were at risk of losing their home. We noticed that complaints from their neighbours had stopped, so we spoke to residents living on the estate who confirmed that things had quietened down significantly. One resident went out of their way to thank us for how we’d handled the investigation and said that they were able to live in their home peacefully again. The perpetrator also called us to apologise for their behaviour and the impact it had on the community. They decided to reach out to their family and spend more time with them to change their life. This has resulted in a positive outcome where residents have been able to have their lives back and the perpetrator is able to remain in their home without being at risk of eviction.
What to do if you’re experiencing anti-social behaviour (ASB)
If you’re experiencing anti-social behaviour, you can find out what to do using our ASB toolkit on our website. The toolkit has details about the different types of ASB that occur and what to do depending on the incident.