Antisocial behaviour (ASB) is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that can make many people’s lives a misery from litter and vandalism to public drunkenness or noisy and abusive neighbours. Such a wide range of behaviour means that responsibility for dealing with antisocial behaviour is shared between a number of agencies, particularly the police, Councils and housing providers.
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 defines ASB behaviour as:
- conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person,
- conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation or residential premises, or;
- conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person.
The Council has a role in responding to ASB affecting private properties, businesses and open public spaces.
The Council has a range of responsibilities to deal with ‘Environmental’ ASB such as noise, litter, bonfires, dumped rubbish and abandoned cars. These responsibilities arise from a number of Acts, but in particular the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
How do I report antisocial behaviour?
If you see ASB in your area, or are suffering from it, we want to hear about it. Harlow Council works hard to tackle ASB, but we can't do it without you. If you have witnessed or experienced ASB, one call from you will ensure that whatever ASB is happening we will investigate.
In an emergency please report it to the Police on 999 or in a non-emergency call 101
- Remember your safety is the most important thing
- Report it as soon as possible
- Keep records of incidents, including Police incident numbers and details of who you reported it to
- Give as much descriptive detailed information as possible e.g. name(s), age, sex, address/location, clothing/distinguishing marks and details of what happened etc
The Community Safety Team work in partnership with other agencies including Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Services, Social Services and Education who co-ordinate a strategic approach to a problem. More information on ASB enforcement
The majority of Council tenants are good neighbours. However, Council tenants who cause a misery to their neighbours or are convicted of a serious crime risk losing their homes. Changes, which came into effect under the antisocial behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, mean tenants could be evicted more easily by their landlords, if:
- They are convicted of a serious offence including activities linked to rioting.
- They breach a civil injunction/criminal behaviour order.
- They breach a noise abatement notice or order served by Environmental Health.
- The property they live in is subject to a closure order by the magistrates court as a result of antisocial behaviour.
The Council will take action using the new laws in the most serious cases of ASB and where there is clear evidence of serious criminal behaviour or breach of previous court orders. The Council tenancy agreement sets out the type of behaviour which is unacceptable and what action could be taken in the event of a breach of tenancy
ASB Case Reviews, also known as the community trigger, give victims and communities the right to demand that persistent ASB is dealt with, by requesting a review of their ASB case. It is a new provision in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
To qualify for an ASB Case Review
You can request an ASB Case Review if:
- you have reported:
- three or more incidences of ASB within the last six months where you consider no action has been taken or if you feel the action taken has been inadequate
- one or more incidences of hate crime within the last six months where you consider no action has been taken or if you feel the action taken has been inadequate
- you reported all the incidences of ASB or hate crime to one or more agencies (such as the Council, the Police, your doctors, your landlord, Social Services)
- all the reports you have made about ASB or hate crime have been made within one month of the alleged incident taking place
Request an ASB Case Review
Residents of Harlow can request an ASB Case Review when they feel that the agencies involved such as the Council, the Police or housing provider have not adequately responded to an ASB case or Hate Crime reported.
The ASB Case Review request form is very detailed and you will be asked to provide details of:
- Dates when you reported the antisocial behaviour or hate crime
- Who you reported the incident(s) to
- Any incident or reference numbers you have been given
- Further information about the incidents reported such as location, any witnesses, about the incident(s)
Alternatively you can request an ASB Case Review by requesting a copy of the form from Contact Harlow.
The ASB Case Review process
When you submit a request for an ASB Case Review, Harlow Council will ask the agencies involved to provide details of your complaint(s) and any actions they have considered and taken.
A decision will be made as to whether your request for an ASB Case Review meets the qualifying conditions.
If your request does not qualify (meet the threshold) for an ASB Case Review then you will receive a letter explaining why your request has been turned down along with details of the appeals procedure.
If your request qualifies (meets the threshold) for an ASB Case Review then you will receive a letter of confirmation advising you of timescales involved and when the review should be completed by.
The Community Safety Manager at Harlow Council will organise an ASB Case Review Panel meeting and invite all agencies and/or partners that have had involvement in the case. Those attending the meeting will look at what action (if any) has been taken in response to the victim's report(s) of ASB or hate crime. The Chair of the meeting may consider that further action(s) should be considered. These recommendations will be made to the relevant agencies regarding any future action(s) that must be considered.
The Chair of the ASB Case Review Panel meeting will write (a decision letter) to you within 10 days of the meeting being held detailing:
- the outcome of the case review
- any recommendations made
- the appeals process
ASB Case Review Appeals
You can appeal the decision and outcome of your ASB Case Review if you are not happy with the outcome. You must submit your appeal in writing within 21 days of receiving your decision letter to Chair of the Safer Harlow Partnership. The Chair will review the details of the case and decide if there are grounds for an appeal and will also notify the Essex Police And Crime Commissioner (PCC) of the appeal decision.
Malcolm Morley OBE
Chair of the Safer Harlow Partnership
The Water Gardens