POLICE WAY OF SOLVING ANTISOCIAL ISSUE by moving the victim.
12/06/2009 6:13 pm
I reported various times antisocial issues against me from another tenant of the same HA. This tenant has been intimidating me and harassing me to have me moved or evicted. The police response has been that If I was unhappy by this situation I should move. But should I move just because another tenant decides he wants me out of the way through harassment and intimidation? I have also the feeling the police would find it very convenient for me to move so they would have solved this issue not through their efforts and trying to protect the victim but simply moving the victim somewhere else. Assuming this is the correct scenario, what do the expert suggest should I be doing, please?
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12/06/2009 8:28 pm
I would have thought the best way of dealing with this, is to contact your Councils Safer Estates Team and report it to them, Get them to contact the Police for a Police Report. You do not need to be a Council Tenant either for both the Council, the H/A and the Police have an obligation under the The Anti-social Behaviour Act 2003 to take action. You could also approach your local Councillor or better still, your MP, it could not be a better time and he is bound to act, for fear of it becoming a issue that the press would be interested in
16/06/2009 6:05 pm
You haven’t said what the anti-social behaviour is; and this is really important in considering how to advise you what to do. Whoever is going to help you, the first thing they should be doing is establishing very clearly the facts of the case. It is not unreasonable of them to ask you to provide a detailed account of what has happened to you, how you know who is responsible for doing this and the times and dates of each individual incident. The reason they need to know all this is so that they can sensibly decide which service is best placed to act quickly and effectively to stop the anti-social behaviour. It will also help them to decide what that specific service response can most sensibly be to stop the behaviour.
If the anti-social behaviour involves violence or threats of violence you should, of course, always report it to the police; but you explain that your situation involves the anti-social behaviour of another tenant of your own landlord and this means that your landlord can act to protect you as well. In fact, in many cases, a Housing Association can and will act more quickly and effectively than the police are able to.
The police operate almost exclusively in the criminal justice system. This means that in dealing with harmful behaviour (and in particular serious, threatening or violent behaviour), they must have evidence of this behaviour which passes certain tests: they must have evidence which meets the criminal standard, “beyond reasonable doubt”; and they must provide this evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service who will not only test this evidence but also decide whether prosecution is “in the public interest”. This is the background to their work and it would be of no use to you for them to be issuing toothless “warnings” to perpetrators, which they were helpless to enforce in the criminal courts (the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court). Even if they pass these tests of evidence and procedure, getting a case before these Courts and getting a trial to a successful conclusion is a lengthy business and the outcome not easily predictable.
Since 2003, Housing Associations have had a whole range of powers to tackle anti-social behaviour, previously available only to local authority housing services. The anti-social behaviour they can now deal with includes a very wide range of behaviour, from noise and other nuisance behaviour, aggressive and bullying behaviour, through to serious criminal activity in and around their housing stock. Moreover, the powers they have enable them to act quickly and very effectively, and with a great deal more likelihood of a positive outcome for complainants. The law they use is the civil law and the standard of proof is the civil standard. This is generally called “the balance of probabilities” and means the Judge must think it more likely than not that the evidence your landlord puts before the Court proves the facts they want the Judge to believe.
What your landlord should do, on receiving your complaint, is to listen carefully to what you are saying and make sure that they have a clear and detailed account from you as to what has happened. Then they must investigate your complaint. This is not a sign that they don’t believe you, but that they are taking the matter very seriously. By doing this they are ensuring that as they corroborate you version of events, they are able to
17/06/2009 3:21 pm
Terry Harding Fri, 12 Jun 2009 20:28 GMT... thantks for your comments...
17/06/2009 3:24 pm
Bill Pitt Tue, 16 Jun 2009 18:05 GMT... thanks for your exstensive comments... your post looks unfinished - probably due to the fact that one posting maybe only accept a mamximum amount of word? - I would be grateful to know what's been lopped off if it is important.
Inside Housing staff post
17/06/2009 4:01 pm
Hi Kass, here is the rest of Bill's response. I'll add another post after this one if it doesn't all appear:
What your landlord should do, on receiving your complaint, is to listen carefully to what you are saying and make sure that they have a clear and detailed account from you as to what has happened. Then they must investigate your complaint. This is not a sign that they don’t believe you, but that they are taking the matter very seriously. By doing this they are ensuring that as they corroborate you version of events, they are able to exercise a judgement as to what is the appropriate and proportionate action to take. They are also establishing the evidence they would need if, in any serious circumstances, they should need to take legal action against the perpetrator of the anti-social behaviour. This evidence would show the Court that they had established the facts of the behaviour and its effect of those suffering its consequences. The evidence would also show any Court that the basis of their action was reasonable and sensible and this would make it more likely that a Judge would listen to them and believe their version of events.
Of course, not every piece of anti-social behaviour in their stock is going to require legal action from a social landlord. In some cases, a clear and unequivocal warning will be enough to stop any repetition of this behaviour, particularly if the landlord has a substantial reputation for taking legal action whenever people don’t listen to such warnings. In many cases people will realize that their behaviour is unreasonable and change it.
But, in circumstances where the behaviour is dangerous, the landlord should sensibly conduct a fast investigation and, without notice to the perpetrator, secure for complainants, witnesses and the wider community the protection of the civil courts (usually the County Court) and the civil law. The fast way to do this is to put clear and credible evidence before the Court of harm to individuals and to ask a Judge for an order to prohibit the repetition of this harm. In circumstances where the behaviour is not dangerous but continues in spite of clear warnings from the landlord that it must stop, the landlord should give notice to the perpetrator that the Association (or Company or Council) will seek an order, once again with clear and credible evidence of the harm caused to individuals by the behaviour being placed before a Judge.
This order is called an injunction. If the harm is being caused because the tenant of a social landlord is in breach of their tenancy, or if they, their household or their visitors are causing the harm, the Judge can make what is usually called a Tenancy Injunction, directly against the tenant. Alternatively, the Judge can make an order against anyone where the anti-social behaviour can reasonably be linked to the landlord’s service responsibilities; this is called an Anti-social Behaviour Injunction.
Injunctions are a fast way of putting perpetrators of anti-social behaviour into a direct relationship with the Court. Once an order is made by the Judge, any breach of this order is contempt of Court and puts the perpetrator at serious risk of imprisonment. In my experience and that of my colleagues, 9 out of 10 injunctions are never breached and Judges take such breaches very seriously – not surprisingly since their Office, the cr
Inside Housing staff post
17/06/2009 4:03 pm
And the rest:
Injunctions are a fast way of putting perpetrators of anti-social behaviour into a direct relationship with the Court. Once an order is made by the Judge, any breach of this order is contempt of Court and puts the perpetrator at serious risk of imprisonment. In my experience and that of my colleagues, 9 out of 10 injunctions are never breached and Judges take such breaches very seriously – not surprisingly since their Office, the credibility of their authority and their judgement in making the order in the first place is directly questioned by such breaches.
Injunctions are the landlord’s way of protecting complainants and other residents in and around their stock. Eviction is a way of holding tenants to account for breaching their tenancy agreement or for their own, their visitors’ or their household’s anti-social behaviour. But please be clear: eviction will do nothing to protect you from individual perpetrator’s anti-social behaviour, nor will it stop the perpetrator from moving into any available tenancies in your area which are not managed by your landlord. Eviction could leave you with exactly the same problem, still on your doorstep!
So! Back to your questions:
Should the police be suggesting that you move? I think that, on the face of what you say, they shouldn’t.
What should you and the police do? I think that you should be asking your landlord to listen and take an account of the harm you are experiencing and asking them to investigate your complaint and to tell you afterwards what they have done to stop it so that you can tell them whether their action is effective.
Tenants and residents can and should be principal partners in the fight against anti-social behaviour and against the great harm it can do the quality of life on social housing estates and to the reputation of both social housing and its professional management.