WM Housing Group will not tolerate antisocial behaviour (ASB) or hate crime in the neighbourhoods where we operate. We will use the various tools and powers available to put a stop to it.
We believe that everyone has the right to live the way they wish as long as they do not spoil the quality of life for others. This means being tolerant, accepting and respecting of the needs and choices of other people. ASB is behaviour by residents, members of their household or their visitors which causes annoyance, nuisance or disturbance to anyone else in the area. What is important in tackling ASB is the effect of the behaviour on others. Residents are expected to take responsibility for minor ASB related personal disputes with their neighbours. We can offer support and advice if needed. We believe that residents are responsible for the behaviour of every person (including children) living in or visiting their home and their pets in their home and in shared areas.
Hate Crime is hostility and prejudice in our society. This is targeted on someone due to a personal characteristic such as someone’s ethnicity, sexuality or because they are disabled. When dealing
with ASB and Hate Crime, we will maintain a victim centered approach by putting them first, understand any impact upon them and liaise with our partners to support.
We are committed to tackling ASB within our communities and we have signed up to the Respect – ASB Charter for Housing. This voluntary sector based approach sets out our commitment to deliver high quality ASB services that are focused on outcomes for residents.
When addressing ASB and Hate Crime we will;
- treat the matter effectively, sympathetically and confidentially;
- provide an accessible and accountable service and take reports seriously;
- investigate all reports;
- give victims the confidence to report hate crime and hate incidents and work with our partners to keep them safe from further risk of harm;
- adopt a harm-based approach, to ensure that reports of ASB and Hate Crime receive attention in proportion to the risk of harm they present;
- ensure that proportionate and appropriate action is taken against perpetrators;
- not tolerate any behaviour that threatens, intimidates or abuses our staff, contractors, partners and residents;
- work in partnership with residents, the Police, Local Authorities and other agencies, where necessary to address issues of ASB and Hate Crime.
This list includes some of the types of behaviour that we may consider to be antisocial;
- violence, or threatening violence, towards anyone;
- harassment, intimidation and abuse;
- damage to property;
- keeping or using illegal drugs, either for yourself or to give or sell to somebody else;
- noise, such as loud music, which can be heard outside your home and which may disturb other people;
It is important that we are realistic when advising you what we can and cannot do in relation to ASB. We will not treat as anti social behaviour matters relating to residents going about their normal everyday activities, unless this constitutes a breach of their tenancy. Examples of issues which may upset or disturb people but which cannot be dealt with as anti social behaviour are;
- light switches being turned on or off;
- flushing toilets;
- cooking smells;
- people talking at normal volume in their home;
- washing machines or other household appliances;
- babies crying.
In line with our victim centred approach we will always consider the impact of any activity on the victim on a case by case basis.
Our customers should be able to enjoy their homes and neighbourhoods without fear. We expect our customers to show consideration to their neighbours and their community and not to commit, or allow their family or visitors to commit acts of ASB.
We expect customers to show consideration to their neighbours and their community and not to commit, or allow their family or visitors to commit acts of ASB.
In addition to the responsibilities set out in your tenancy agreement or lease, we will encourage all customers to:
- report all incidents of ASB, harassment, domestic abuse and hate crime;
- report all crimes to the Police;
- take responsibility for minor personal disputes with their neighbours and try to resolve any such problems themselves in a reasonable manner;
- respect other people’s right to their chosen lifestyle and a reasonable level of disturbance;
- work with us to resolve issues, for example by providing witness statements or attending court etc.
You should contact us on 0300 7906 555 and give us as much detail as possible about the incident. If the problem involves a risk of harm to yourself or to anyone else then you should
contact the police straight away.
We will adopt a victim centred, problem solving approach to tackling ASB and Hate Crime. We will do this by;
- tailoring our approach to victims;
- working with vulnerable residents, both victims and perpetrators and partner agencies to provide a holistic and appropriate response to deal with ASB and Hate Crime;
- we will aim to strive to challenge and change behaviour however, there may be occasions where we will take action before the offer of any support, for example in a situation where we seek to
obtain an injunction to prevent further harm;
- assessing reports of ASB and Hate Crime to check the level of risk or harm to the individual including repeat victimisation;
- making contact with the reporter promptly;
- agreeing an action plan with the reporter, advising what we can do and what the reporter can do to resolve things;
- keeping all parties informed of any progress but also expecting our reporters to keep in contact with us until the case is resolved;
- ensuring that information is treated confidentially, ensuring that individuals attending court are supported and liaising with the courts where necessary to minimise any distress and any associated risks.
We will investigate anonymous reports where possible, however we will not be able to provide feedback to the complainant nor will we be able to gain further information and this is likely to limit what action we can take.
Our tenancy agreements set out clearly what we mean by ASB and Hate Crime, the standards of behaviour we expect of all customers and the sanctions that we may apply to those who behave in an anti-social manner. We will adopt a tiered approach to ensure a proportionate response to cases of ASB.
Customers will be advised on self-help options. We believe that it is important to encourage people to find their own solutions in the first instance to the dispute they are engaged in, and should not rely on outside assistance to impose a settlement.
If self-help does not work or is inappropriate and the behaviour complained of is likely to be a breach of tenancy conditions we will look to intervene early to resolve the issue. This may include mediation, restorative justice, warning letters, acceptable behaviour contracts, parenting contracts.
Where issues cannot be resolved through self-resolution or other non-legal actions, or is unreasonable for these approaches to be considered, for example because of the seriousness,
urgency, risk of harm or criminality involved we will consider and if appropriate use more formal legal actions. We will use all legal tools that are available to us.
On some occasions other agencies may have the best tool to address the problem and we will therefore work with our partners to support their action for example community protection notices, closure orders noise abatement notices by the environmental health team, criminal behaviour orders by the police. The action we take will be decided on the circumstances of each case in turn and will be proportionate to the behaviour exhibited.
In some exceptional circumstances and if the situation is appropriate we may be unable to progress an ASB case if a complainant refuses early intervention actions. Whatever, the reason for closing the case this will always be recorded fully and explained.
We want to provide customers with an excellent service but there may be times when we do not quite get it right or you feel dissatisfied with our response. If this happens firstly you can
discuss it with us or you can use our formal complaints procedure.
You could request a review of how your case has been handled using the community trigger. To do so you will usually need to have made a number of reports of the ASB over a 6 month period and feel that no action has been taken. A community trigger will be carried out by a number of agencies. This does not replace WM Housing Groups complaints process.
We believe that tackling ASB and Hate Crime and its causes can be complex and requires strong local partnership arrangements. We will work in partnership so that we can identify and use resources effectively to respond appropriately to the diverse problems each community experiences.
Generally we would wish to obtain agreement with the complainant about the particular actions to be followed. There may be occasions where the complainant would wish that we do not take specific action on their report. The situation may however be serious enough that we feel we have little option but to pursue against their wishes. In such circumstances we will take appropriate measures to protect all those affected.
We reserve the right to make a referral to Social Care or the police, including a safeguarding referral, without the permission of the resident where the situation and provision of the Data Protection Act and other legislation justifies it.