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        Anti Social Behaviour

        If you feel Anti-Social Behaviour is affecting your quality of life or fear for your safety or the safety of others then please report this to us.

        What is anti-social behaviour?

        Peoples understanding of what constitutes Anti-social behaviour can be very different and can affect people in very different ways. For some people it means living next door to nuisance neighbours, for other people it’s about litter and dog fouling or graffiti on the street. Often it can include people acting in an aggressive, intimidating or destructive manner.

        Report Anti-Social Behaviour online

        There are multiple legal definitions of anti-social behaviour however, the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives the most recent definitions, citing Anti-Social Behaviour as:

        “Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress‘’

        OR

        “Conduct capable of causing housing related nuisance or annoyance”

        There is also a clear link between Anti-Social Behaviour and crime. Nuisance can escalate if not dealt with, and this can erode people’s sense of attachment to where they live. We actively work with other agencies such as Kent Police, where Anti-social Behaviour escalates or overlaps with criminal acts.

        When confronting nuisance and Anti-Social behaviour,  Social Landlords may also have their own procedures for dealing with complaints, so if you rent your property through a social landlord there may also be additional guidance available to you. East Kent Housing provides additional advice and information in their housing anti-social behaviour strategy

        For more information on current tools and powers available to agencies to tackle nuisance, please see the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

        We also have regard for guidance issued in the 2003 white paper “Taking a Stand Against Anti-Social Behaviour‟ which highlights a reluctance and deliberate element to the behaviour should be present:

        “The common element in all anti-social behaviour is that it represents a lack of respect or consideration for other people. It shows a selfish inability or unwillingness to recognise when one’s individual behaviour is offensive to others and a refusal; to take responsibility for it. More fundamentally it shows a failure to understand that one’s person’s rights are based on the responsibilities we have towards others and towards our families and communities.”

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        Types of anti-social behaviour

        The Community Safety Unit deal with varied complaints of Anti-Social Behaviour on a day to day basis.  Due to the diverse nature of Anti-Social Behaviour, we may also refer our residents to other teams and organisations if they are better placed to deal with the issues that are being reported.

        Many of the complaints we deal with relate to the following issues:

        • Neighbour nuisance
        • Graffiti
        • Street drinking
        • Groups/problematic locations
        • Misuse of public space e.g. illegal encampments/unauthorised ‘events’

        Other issues that we do not directly deal with but may receive information about for other departments include;

        It is important to remember that in certain instances, Anti-Social Behaviour can mean entirely different things to different people.  As neighbours, it’s always necessary to realise that we will often have different values, beliefs and opinions. What someone might object to may not actually be considered as anti-social behaviour.

        For example, occasional one off incidents – such as foot fall or children playing which can be overheard due to poor sound insulation in properties would not usually be considered anti social behaviour.

        Examples of behaviour that is unlikely to constitute Anti-Social Behaviour:

        • Occasional problems – such as one off parties
        • Day to day domestic activity (especially in multi-occupancy premises)
        • Children playing in public

         

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        What steps can I take to resolve a dispute?

        Before you enter into a dispute with your neighbour the best course of action is often just to speak to them. They may not even know there is a problem. The majority of disputes occur because people do not realise their behaviour is having an impact upon others.

        If you would like more advice being a good neighbour or guidance around trying to resolve issues yourself, the problem neighbours web site gives lots of handy tips.

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        How does the council tackle anti-social behaviour?

        Once an investigating officer is satisfied that an incident reported is not an isolated (one off) incident and that the behaviour occurring is having a negative impact on a person or the community’s well-being, there are a number of tools and powers available to the council to assist in either informally or formally resolving the issue.

        Informal resolution

        • Advice given – Mutual understandingIn cases of very low level Anti Social Behaviour where there is no threat of violence or much animosity, this can be a good way forward and stop matters getting worse. It enables people to deal with the issues themselves and possibly reach an amicable solution.
        • MediationMediation is a form of conflict resolution. It is a service which enables people to restore relations themselves rather than a solution imposed by a third party. The mediator is a neutral person who will explore the reasons behind a conflict, find common ground and helps the people jointly agree ways of dealing with their problems. The council currently utilises Dover and Shepway Mediation Service

        Formal resolution

        Investigating officers will try to take an incremental approach to enforcement wherever possible. However if the behaviour does not cease, then it may be that enforcement and formal resolution may be necessary.

        Other sanctions are available, depending on the situation and type of ASB.

        • Verbal warningA verbal warning, is a warning given in person to the individual, by an officer, advising them to cease from continuing any nuisance behaviour and advising what steps should be taken to achieve this.
        • Written warningA written warning, is similar to a verbal warning in so far as advising the individual to cease from continuing any nuisance behaviour and advising what steps should be taken to achieve this. A written warning also outlines the consequences of further anti-social behaviour and more serious sanctions that will be undertaken if breached.
        • Enforcement of tenancy conditionsThe Community Safety Team works closely with landlords whilst investigating Anti Social Behaviour and landlords may deploy any necessary management functions they have. Officers will give advice and ensure landlords are aware of any nuisance being caused in their property. Landlords may wish to look at further enforcement, such as injunctions or in extreme circumstances, eviction.
        • Breach of selective licenseThere are also additional powers available under Selective Licensing and House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) Licensing. If the property is subject to a license, there will also be conditions that stipulate landlords must engage with the council to manage any nuisance behaviour from the property. If this is not something the landlord is willing to do, then enforcement could also be taken in conjunction with the Private Sector Housing Team, against the landlord for a breach of a condition.

        Acceptable Behaviour or ‘Good Neighbour’ Agreement (ABA)

        An Acceptable Behaviour Agreement (ABA) is a non legally binding agreement that the perpetrator and any other interested parties, such as the Police, District Council and housing provider can sign up to, and specifies actions or behaviours that should not be continued. It could often be considered where there are a number of different people involved in Anti Social Behaviour, all with differing opinions.

        Community Protection Warning (CPW)

        A Community Protection Warning, may be issued to advise and warn that any future actions, or failure to do something may result in a Community Protection Notice (see below) being issued.

        The warning will set out what it is that is deemed as having a detrimental impact on the wider community, and what steps need to be taken to improve this situation, and / or  to stop any Anti Social Behaviour.

        this can include positive requirements – such as ‘engage with specified support services’ as well as ‘removal of items’ and ‘desist from contact or communication’ type activities.

        Community Protection Notice (CPN)

        A Community Protection Notice (CPN) is a formal written notice issued by officers to the perpetrator informing them of the Anti-Social behaviour, requesting them to stop and advising them of the consequences if they continue. It can also advise of reasonable steps that can be taken to avoid further anti-social behaviour and allows Councils to carry out works in default on behalf of the perpetrator.

        A breach of a Community Protection Notice is a criminal offence. If breached you could also be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.

        ASB Injunction (ASBI)

        The ASB Injunction (ASBI) is a formal civil sanction replacing civil Anti-Social Behaviour Orders: ASBO’s and Housing Act injunctions, and would be considered as a formal response made by application to the courts, after lower level informal approaches have either been attempted or are not applicable.

        Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO)

        The Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) is a new power which replaces the Anti Social Behaviour Order on conviction and Drink Banning Order on conviction.

        A CBO will be issued by the Crown Prosecution Service either at its own initiative or following a request from the Police or the Council on conviction of any criminal offence.

        Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

        The Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO’s) are intended to deal with a particular nuisance or disorder in a specific area that is detrimental to a communities quality of life and replaces Gating Orders, Designated Public Places Order (DPPO) and Dog Control Orders.

        An order can cover multiple restrictions and would be considered once other interventions have been attempted.

        Premises Closure

        A premises closure can be applied for by the Police and Council to the courts, to quickly close any premises which are being used, or likely to be used to commit nuisance or disorder.

        There are two types of closures, a ‘notice’, which can close premises for up to 48 hours and an ‘order’ which can close premises for 6 months. Both can be used for residential and commercial premises and breaches constitute criminal offences.

        Dispersal Power

        The dispersal power is a flexible power which the police can use in a range of situations to provide immediate short term respite to a local community.

        If officers feel there is likely to be ASB, crime or disorder this can be referred onto Police to propose a dispersal order. Orders can be authorised by Police Inspectors for use by Police Officers for up to 48 hours, and this then gives Police Officers additional powers to direct individuals to leave a location for up to 48 hours.

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