I’m an Anti-social Behaviour and Interventions Officer. My work is busy and stressful, no doubt about it. But I must enjoy it as I’ve been in the Anti-social Behaviour Team for over 12 years!
I deal with serious cases such as domestic abuse, hate crime and acts of violence. I also deal with problems such as noise nuisance, rubbish in gardens and hoarding when they become serious and are passed on by our Neighbourhoods Team.
In my work, I:
- investigate reports of anti-social behaviour
- support both complainants and victims
- gather evidence
- challenge alleged perpetrators
- take action
- work with the police, councils and other partners
When investigating disputes between neighbours, we can receive complaints from the alleged perpetrator that also have to be investigated.
People often ask us just to evict someone, but as the landlord we don’t have the power to make a resident leave their home. Eviction can only be done by a court order and it’s always the last resort. Sometimes, this be difficult for people to understand. We have to be reasonable and take action that fits the level of anti-social behaviour. We always try to work with residents first to try to change their behaviour.
Investigating cases can be very difficult and take a long time. Heavy punishments are not always the answer. Often, we find a perpetrator’s behaviour is caused by their other problems, such as mental illness or drug and alcohol addiction. These are very complicated, and we need to work with other agencies to try to find solutions.
Mental illness can cause many problems. We work closely with local mental health teams. We also advise residents on the support available from community health services. Many times, we’re successful in helping residents to get the help they need, and their anti-social behaviour stops.
We also work with the police, fire services and council anti-social behaviour teams. And sometimes with youth offending teams and victim support. We’re not the police – we can’t arrest anyone. Cases involving drug dealing, domestic violence, hate crime and other criminal behaviour must be dealt with by the police. We can support them be providing information and evidence.
When dealing with a case, we try to keep in regular contact with the complainant and offer support. Unfortunately, we’re not always able to go into detail about what action we may be taking due to data protection. This can be frustrating for the victim and for us. It can lead to people thinking we’re not dealing with the problem when we are working hard.
During the pandemic, there has been an increase in reports of anti-social behaviour across the country. Between April 2020 and March 2021, we also received a big increase in reports from residents. Some of the main problems have been people breaking COVID restrictions, illegally dumping waste and littering.
Many people have been stuck in their homes for a long time during the pandemic. This has caused tension between some neighbours. Reports of noise nuisance have increased. It’s a myth it’s okay to play loud music during the day. Loud noise at any time can be really harmful. It’s great when we solve these issues by simply talking to the perpetrator.
Mediation can be a good way of solving disputes between neighbours. This is where we use an external service that speaks to the complainants and perpetrator separately. This can be a very successful way of coming to an agreement.
We aim to resolve anti-social behaviour without going to court. If perpetrators continue to cause problems despite warnings, we will refer cases to court. Sometimes, the threat of legal action is often enough to get people to work with us to find a solution. At the end of the day, it’s the judge who decides if we have enough evidence for an injunction or possession order.
It’s great when I can make a resident feel safe and happy in their home. After all, that’s what everyone wants, isn’t it?