Anti Social Behaviour Procedure

Closeddate_range14 Dec, 2021, 12:21pm - 24 Dec, 2021, 12:21pm

Anti-Social Behaviour Procedure 

Below sets out how we as Connexus manages reports of Anti-Social Behaviour and the procedures we will follow if you report any issues to us. 

We have included how we will record, support and close ASB cases and would really like your feedback on how you think this works for you? 

Does it make sense? Have we covered everything you would expect?  Have we missed anything?

Giving us your feedback helps us shape our services to suit the needs and expectations of you and ensures your voice is heard throughout the business.

 

Purpose

1.1

This procedure has been developed by Connexus Homes Limited.

 

1.2

 

 

1.3

 

 

1.4

 

 

1.5

The aim of this procedure is to provide a clear framework for Connexus and its employees to deter and respond to incidents of anti-social behaviour.

 

This procedure covers all residents of Connexus; tenants, licensees, leaseholders and shared owners.

 

The procedure should be used by officers in their response to dealing with all instances of anti-social behaviour.

 

Connexus will work in partnership with other agencies and the wider community to prevent, tackle and resolve anti-social behaviour (ASB). We will use the best practice ‘triple track’ approach to case work, combining early intervention/prevention, support and enforcement, where necessary.

 

Definition  

2.1

 

 

2.2

Connexus defines nuisance as any behaviour that unreasonably interferes with the complainants’ rights to use and enjoy their home and community.

 

Connexus has adopted the definition of anti-social behaviour as detailed in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Please refer to the Connexus Anti-Social Behaviour Policy for further detail.

 

Prevention

3.1

Where possible, we aim to prevent ASB from occurring in the first place. Examples of preventative measures we use, include:

 

  • Appropriate allocation of homes to new tenants in line with the countywide allocation policy(s) and Connexus’ lettings policy. This will include pre-tenancy assessments, early support intervention, sensitive let interviews and implementation and use of local lettings plans. Offers of homes may be refused where a prospective tenant has previously perpetrated ASB (please refer to the Connexus Lettings Policy).  
  • Clear messages at sign up in relation to acceptable behaviour and tenancy obligations.
  • We will contact all new tenants within 4-6 weeks of their tenancy starting.
  • Multi-agency and partnership working
  • Designing out crime
  • Carrying out environmental and community improvements
  • Working closely and effectively with Tenancy Sustainment and Prevention Support services.
  • Diversionary activities
  • Consideration will be given to publicising successful outcomes for ASB cases (internally and externally). 

Assessing and signing up new tenants

4.1

 

 

4.2

 

 

 

4.3

 

 

4.4

Any new letting of a home will include a pre-tenancy assessment with the perspective new tenant. The pre-tenancy assessment will consider applicants past history of ASB, any current risks in rehousing the applicant and whether it is appropriate and proportionate to continue in letting a home to them.

 

The Connexus Lettings Policy allows the withdrawal of offer or ability to refuse accommodation to individuals who have perpetrated anti-social behaviour. Where an offer of a property is not made to an applicant due to a previous history of unacceptable or anti-social behaviour this will be done in line with the Connexus Lettings Policy.

 

Where an offer proceeds, at the sign up, the relevant officer will explain to the new tenant what ASB is, how to report it and what action can be taken to tackle it. The officer should also set out Connexus’ expectations around acceptable behaviour and conduct in relation to their own tenancy.

 

All new tenants should be provided with details of our website and directed to the Tenancy Support section, which will include further information on anti-social behaviour; https://connexus-group.co.uk/tenancy-support/my-tenancy/anti-social-behaviour

Receiving and recording a report of anti-social behaviour

5.1   

Reports of ASB can be made by anyone either directly or via a third party, such as the Police, MP or Local Authority. Reports can be made via the telephone, in writing, in person or via the Connexus website.

5.2     The initial log of the complaint should contain the following information: 
 
  • Name(s), address(s) and contact details
  • Date and time of the most recent incident/complaint; Recording the date and time of the incident is crucial to both provide factually correct information and for the ability to corroborate account where others witnesses exist.
  • Description of incident/complaint; Take as much information as the complainant is willing to provide. It is important not to rush and to allow the individual time to recount their version of events to you. Always remember to record how the incident(s) made the complainant feel at the time, how it has affected them since and any measures they have had to take in order to avoid such an incident reoccurring.
  • Frequency; Take details of all incidents and how often they have occurred. This will include details of any historical issues.
  • Who was/is involved? Ascertain who is involved, their names and addresses, if known.
  • Is the complainant being targeted? Investigate if the complainant or their household feels they are being targeted. If so, why does the complaint think they are being targeted.
  • Were there any witnesses? Record all details of any witnesses. They may be required to provide further information at a later date.
5.3 

  Once the above information is collated it should be logged on CX as an ASB case and assigned to the relevant officer. If the case is serious then it should be responded to within 1 working day. General cases will be responded to within 3 working days.

5.3.1

Supported Housing Schemes

Where the complainant and/or perpetrator is a resident within a supported housing scheme any reports of ASB will initially be sent directly to the officer responsible for managing the scheme (Independent Living Co-ordinator/Housing Co-ordinator etc). 

Such reports should still be logged as an ASB case on CX as indicated at 5.3. Where there are persistent ASB issues or individuals do not moderate their behaviour then guidance should be sought from a Housing Officer or Enforcement Officer. A case should only be referred to a Housing Officer or Enforcement Officer when the officer responsible for managing the scheme has tried to resolve the issue(s) without success. It will be necessary to share relevant information relating to the ASB complaint with the Housing or Enforcement Officer.

5.4      Reports Received From A Third Party
5.4.1 Where a report is made via a third party, no information on the individual’s circumstances will be shared with the third party without confirmation of consent gained from the individual or in line with the information sharing protocol.
5.5 Anonymous Report
5.5.1 Where a person reporting ASB wishes to remain anonymous the officer dealing with the report should:
  • Reassure them that if they do give their identity Connexus will not inform the alleged perpetrator without their prior consent
  • Gain as much information as possible about the ASB incident(s)
  • Discuss the action we can take in tackling ASB, including the support and protection that can be provided
  • Not place undue pressure on the individual to provide their name and/or address
5.5.2 ​​​​​If the person reporting ASB still wishes to remain anonymous the officer should explain the limitations it imposes to investigating the complaint and that we will be unable to provide any feedback on our investigation and action taken. The details of the ASB report should still be logged on CX as per 5.3 of this procedure with the complainant recorded as anonymous. 

Responding to the report of Anti-Social Behaviour

6.1

Once a report of ASB is received the responsible investigating officer will assess the risk of the case. The risk will be assessed using a range of information and will be based upon:

  • The information provided by the victim/complainant.  
  • The triage risk assessment task within the CX ASB case – where victims answer yes to 2 out of the 3 questions asked a full risk assessment should be completed to fully ascertain and understand the level of risk (A risk assessment template is available at Appendix 1). The outcome of the risk assessment may require actions, such as:
  • Referrals for additional support
  • Liaison with external agencies, including discussion and/or implementation of Risk Management Plans
  • Additional information Connexus holds on the victim/complainant
  • Additional information Connexus holds on the alleged perpetrator
  • Additional information known to Connexus from partner agencies and partnership forums, such as Multi Agency Tasking And Co-ordination (MATAC) or Multi Agency Risk Assessment Conference (MARAC)
6.2   Any case assessed as high risk must be responded to within 1 working day. All other cases have a 3 day response time.
6.3   Where a crime has been committed, the investigating officer should advise and encourage the complainant to report the incident to the police
6.4  There may be occasions where is it appropriate for the investigating officer to make a report to the police themselves, such as instances of criminal damage to Connexus property. The officer should seek guidance from their manager in such circumstances
6.5 The investigating officer should advise the complainant of the next actions they will be taking and any actions required by the complainant themselves, such as completion of diary log sheets or use of Noise App. The agreed actions should be recorded within the ASB case. Where the actions have been agreed verbally, it is good practice to confirm these in writing by either letter or CX email communication to the complainant.

Interviewing complainants (including witnesses)

7.1 

The investigating officer must carry out an interview with the complainant in order to gather the full facts of the incident(s). This interview can take place either by telephone or face to face, within the appropriate timescale.

7.2

In making arrangement to meet the complainant(s) the officer should give consideration to the most appropriate place to meet. The location for meeting should be mutually agreed between the officer and complainant. The officer should also consider anyone else who should be included, such as an advocate or friend so that the complainant is adequately supported during the interview. Any specific needs, such as requirement for interpreter or sign language, should be accommodated. Family members under the age of 18 should not be used as interpreters for cases of ASB which include any sensitive or inappropriate information.

7.3 

The interview should cover the following points

  • What the problem is
  • When, where and how frequently it has happened
  • Who is affected
  • Name and addresses of any witnesses
  • Name(s) and details of perpetrator(s)
  • Why they believe the ASB is happening
  • Establish if any action has been taken already and by whom, such as police or local authority
  • What action they want to see taken. The officer conducting the interview should give consideration to managing the complainant’s expectations.
  • The impact the behaviour is having
  • Any additional support or protection that can be offered
7.5 

Any further actions should be agreed with the complainant during the interview. All notes should be dated, timed and recorded on CX as part of the ASB case. Notes should be recorded using plain English and without the use of abbreviations or slang words. Any further actions should be confirmed in writing to the complainant. 

7.6

Where there has been no success in contacting the complainant, after 2 attempts, a letter or email via CX should be sent out outlining what action can be taken. Every effort should be made to investigate the complaint and take appropriate action, where possible. Where there is no further contact from the complainant or no further complaints are made the case should be closed, please refer to section 16.1 of this procedure for guidance on closing the case.

7.7  Safeguarding and support
7.7.1

Where any additional support requirements are identified and agreed the investigating officer should ensure that the relevant referral(s) is made

7.7.2 Any concerns relating to the safeguarding of the complainant or their household should be discussed between the officer and their manager and responded to in line with the Connexus Safeguarding Policy and Procedure.

Interviewing the alleged perpetrator

8.1

The investigating officer should contact the alleged perpetrator in order to arrange an interview with them. The interview can take place either by telephone or face to face, within the appropriate timescale. The alleged perpetrator should be informed that the purpose of the interview is to:

  • Inform the person(s) of the allegation(s)
  • Listen to their version of events
  • Discuss potential options to resolve the matter

Detailed notes of the interview should be taken and recorded against the CX ASB case. Notes should be recorded using plain English and without using abbreviations or slang words.

8.2

Where appropriate, an action plan should be agreed with the perpetrator. They should be

reminded of the requirements of their tenancy agreement and that legal action may be taken

where breaches are identified.

8.3

If there are counter allegations, a new case should be opened and investigated according to

this procedure.

8.4 Safeguarding and support
8.4.1

Where any additional support requirements are identified and agreed the investigating officer should ensure that the relevant referral(s) is made.

8.4.2

Any concerns relating to the safeguarding of the perpetrator or their household should be discussed between the officer and their manager and responded to in line with the Connexus Safeguarding Policy and Procedures

Unknown perpetrators

9.1 It is not always possible for alleged perpetrators to be identified when a complaint is made.
9.2

In such circumstances, the investigating officer should gain as much detail from the complainant(s) as possible. Consideration should be given to the following ways to identify the alleged perpetrator:

  • Speaking with other individuals who may witnessed the incident(s)
  • Approaching other people in the locality who may have been affected by the incident(s) or behaviour
  • Information sharing in multi-agency forums
  • In serious cases, the use of a professional witness
  • Exploring other evidence gathering, such as existing CCTV footage in the area 

Gathering evidence and investigating the case

10.1

All evidence should be gathered as quickly as possible to ensure that timely action is taken

and that witness accounts are as accurate as possible. The evidence should be appropriate,

relevant, factual, cost effective and respectful of confidentiality. Information provided by

complainants or witnesses should be done so with informed consent. 

 

Reports need to be investigated in order to establish the facts of the case. Where reports are made by a sole complainant it is particularly important to attempt to seek evidence to corroborate the report. Depending on the type of report and alleged anti-social the investigating officer will use a number of different methods to gather evidence, these can include:

  • Interviewing neighbours/other witnesses and taking statements
  • Checking with the police and other agencies
  • Witnessing the behaviour first hand
  • Carrying out door knocks within the local community
  • Interviewing the alleged perpetrator
  • Use of Noise App, Noise Monitoring Equipment or CCTV

Domestic abuse

11.1 

If cases of domestic abuse are reported, mentioned or suspected during the investigation of an anti-social behaviour complaint, these should be dealt with separately and in line with the Connexus Domestic Abuse Policy and Procedure.

11.2

Any safeguarding referral(s) should be made in relation to the domestic abuse alongside ensuring the victim is signposted and/or referred to the most appropriate agency(s) for further support.

Partnership working

12.1 Any colleague should determine whether there are protocols in place before sharing information with partner agencies.
12.2 Multi-agency working is always encouraged as it can often increase the success of a positive outcome through providing tailored support, different expertise, knowledge and resources in addition to sharing of relevant evidence and information.
12.3 Multi-agency and partnership working can be facilitated in a number of ways. This may include professional relationships with local stakeholders, such as Local Policing Teams and support services, as well as more formal meetings such as MATAC, MARAC or Serious Organised Crime Joint Agency Group (SOCJAG).

Non legal remedies

13.1 

Non-legal remedies should be considered and used where appropriate. Non-legal remedies could include:

  • Warning letters
  • Acceptable Behaviour Contracts
  • Neighbourhood agreements/Good Neighbour Agreements
  • Mediation
  • Consideration to transferring the victim to other accommodation
  • Diversionary activities
13.2 Where a complainant refuses to engage in non-legal remedies to facilitate self-help and/or early interventions they will be informed that this may impact on how the case progresses.

Legal remedies

14.1 

When taking legal action, the investigating officer should demonstrate that they have considered and explored the use of non-legal remedies to resolve the matter, where it is appropriate to do so. The exception to this is where any person(s) is at risk (e.g. violence or threat of violence) or we have evidence of criminal acts (e.g. drug activity) within the property. In such instances, legal action should be considered as a first response to the matter.

14.2

  The types of legal action that could be taken are:

  • Possession of the property; discretionary or mandatory
  • Injunctions; with or without notice and including power of arrest or exclusion attachments, where appropriate
  • Undertakings
  • Committal for breach of injunction or undertaking
  • Demotion of tenancy
14.3 Serving notice for breach of tenancy/to commence legal proceedings
14.3.1 The type of notice served upon a tenant in order to commence legal proceedings for possession of the property will be dependent on the type of tenancy or agreement the individual holds. The officer preparing and serving the notice should give due care and attention to the agreement type and required notice. In most cases, it will either be a section 8 (Notice Seeking Possession) or a Section 21 Notice that is required. If the officer is unsure of the type of notice required then guidance should be sought from a manager before serving.
14.4 Assessing Proportionality and Equality Impact
14.4.1

Before commencing any formal legal action the investigating officer should complete a proportionality and equality impact assessment within the ASB case as a task. The purpose of doing this is to ensure that the action being taken is appropriate and that any vulnerabilities or protected characteristics are taken into account when commencing action against the individual(s) concerned. A template for this assessment is available at Appendix 2 if required – if not completed within CX then a copy should be saved against the case.

14.5 Court
14.5.1 Where legal remedies are sought Connexus will be required to seek the necessary order via an application to a court.
14.5.2 Where required, witness statements or affidavits will be provided to the court in order to share the facts given by victims and/or witnesses. This may include other colleagues.
14.5.3 It is good practice to ensure that any person providing a witness statement for the purposes of legal enforcement action has had ample opportunity to read their statement, understand its content and are happy that their statement reflects their views and account of the situation before signing it.
14.5.4 Statements should be in a format that is clear to understand and in line with civil procedure rules guidance.
14.5.5

Where witnesses are required to attend court the officer should ensure that the person is fully supported in this process. This could include:

  • Visiting the court with the individual prior to the hearing so they are familiar with the building, environment and security checks
  • Understanding any disabilities which may impact their ability to access the building freely and easily and ensure appropriate adjustments are made.
  • Spending time explaining the court process and what may happen.
  • Ensuring that they are able to travel to the court easily, If not, appropriate transport should be arranged and provided.

Maintaining communication

15.1 Communication should be maintained with all parties throughout the life of the case. The complainant should be contacted regularly (at least fortnightly) on a timescale agreed with them. The format of communication should be in a format they prefer (telephone, letter, email, in person). The agreed communication type and frequency should be recorded against the ASB case

Closing the case

16.1

A case should be closed where:

  • The complainant has advised that the nuisance has ceased, or
  • The complainant has not made any further contact/there has been no further incidents or reports for a period of 4 weeks
  • There has been successful resolution through legal or non-legal interventions
16.2 

Where the case has been closed because the nuisance has ceased and/or there have been no further complaints, the case should be closed as resolved.

16.3

If a case is closed but further complaints are received relating to the same alleged perpetrator a new ASB case should be opened. If the closed case relates to the newly opened case (i.e. same or similar complaint/nuisance being caused) then any relevant notes should be copied to the new case to maintain accuracy and continuity moving forwards.

Publicity

17.1

Connexus believes, where appropriate, that publicising information related to success in dealing with incidents and complaints of anti-social behaviour can restore public confidence that poor behaviour is tackled and taken seriously. This may also act as a deterrent to individuals whose nuisance impacts on the quality of life of others.  

17.2 Published information may be related to individuals who are subject to a court order, such as an injunction, possession order or closure order.
17.3  If a person who is under 18 is involved in any proceedings then advice must be sought before publishing any information.
17.4 The confidentiality of complainants in any legal proceedings will be preserved in accordance with the access to information, confidentiality and data protection policies.
17.5  Officers should consider, in consultation with a Team Leader or Housing Services Manager, whether publicity is appropriate. Where it is deemed appropriate any communication will be done through our Marketing and Communication Team who will advise on the most appropriate form of communication and content. Residents in the affected community may also be sent a letter detailing the action taken and outcome.
17.6  All information will be treated in accordance with the Data Protection Act.
17.7  Reporting restrictions may be put in place by a court in some circumstances. In these instances, Connexus will observe and adhere to such restrictions.

 

Themes

Prevention
Receiving and recording a report of Anti-Social Behaviour
Interviewing complainants
Domestic Abuse
Legal Action