The COVID-19 pandemic is having a great effect on how we live. The imposed restriction to our daily lives has forced us to change our ways of working, learning and communicating with other. The residents of Barking & Dagenham have risen to the challenges that have come from the pandemic, by staying at home, volunteering and where they can, being supportive neighbours.
During this time there will be families living above, below and next to you and there may be an increase in noise levels and disturbances. We are asking you to remain calm and understanding, that we are all in this together. However, as residents please be aware of your actions in your homes too.
What wasn’t acceptable before COVID-19 is still unacceptable; for example, loud music or football being played inside. Please, more than ever, be considerate of others whilst the imposed restrictions are in place. Barking & Dagenham will continue to record persistent Anti-Social Behaviour and will take appropriate action where there is evidence to do so.
Although it’s difficult to communicate with your neighbours currently, we would still suggest you try, as long as you stick to the rules of social distancing.
You could try keeping 2 meters away talk to your neighbour peacefully to establish the best way to resolve the problem. There is further advice about speaking to your neighbour below. Drop them your email address, telephone number or other form of communication so you can talk to them in a safe way or consider a polite note to them, explaining what the issue is and what you would like, remembering to be reasonable and that they may also be finding times difficult.
Antisocial behaviour (ASB) may include disputes between neighbours, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour or harassment and intimidation. These behaviours can be distressing and frightening but you do not have to suffer it in silence.
You can report antisocial behaviour to us but we can only take action if:
- it's taking place on council property or involving a council tenant
- you have the name of the person you are reporting
You should also report it to the police if it's regarding assault, criminal damage, vandalism, drug use, drug cultivation or drug dealing, prostitution or kerb crawling as only they can deal with these issues.
In an emergency (when a crime is being committed or there is immediate danger) always phone the police on 999.
If you are reporting antisocial behaviour to us, our experienced team will treat your report with the strictest confidence and support you through the process.
When reporting non-emergency antisocial behaviour to us you will need to tell us who is affected, how they are affected, where it happened and when it happened. It is important for us to gather evidence so that we can take action against antisocial behaviour.
Things you can do to help us collect evidence are to fill in an antisocial behaviour diary sheet (you can download one from this page). Using this is a good way to record details, as we need as much information as possible about antisocial behaviour. It also helps us if you take photographs, video or audio recordings of any of the incidents (but please do not do anything which could put yourself at risk).
You should keep a record of others who may have witnessed the incidents, and always report incidents to the police or to us.
Discussing an issue
You can also help to reduce the issue yourself, if appropriate, by discussing the antisocial behaviour with the person causing the problem as this may help to change their behaviour.
Here are some tips for dealing with the problem:
- talking to someone face to face calmly is more effective than writing to them or arguing with them
- think about what you want to say first, be clear about what the problem is and how it affects you
- try to choose a good moment and try to stay calm and friendly
- always listen to the other person and think about what they are saying
- remember that what upsets you may not upset others and they may not see their behaviour as causing a problem
- if the other person is unreasonable then calmly leave the discussion
Not all cases of antisocial behaviour are appropriate to discuss with the person causing the problem. If you have tried discussing it but you cannot resolve the issue then it is important you report it.
Although young people playing ball games in public spaces can cause other residents annoyance, this behaviour is not generally considered antisocial behaviour.
If young people playing football is causing a nuisance, the best thing to do is to discuss the issue with them (as explained above) or an adult they live with about how their behaviour is affecting you.
Other limited options are:
- request "No ball game" signs to be placed but these cannot be enforced against
- prove that young people playing football in the road is an offence under Road Traffic Act, where the maximum penalty is £10, although it's unlikely to go to court due to cost of court action
- prove that when a ball has been kicked onto your property, it was on purpose, although this is very difficult and will unlikely go to court
- if a young person goes onto your property uninvited to collect their football, this is Common Trespass and you can go to court to seek a restraining order
We have forms to report many ASB issues and using these helps us deal with a problem faster by sending your report to the most appropriate team.
You can also report a non-emergency incident of antisocial behaviour by using our online form.
If you've made a report previously you can check the progress of your report.
If you, or you and your neighbours, have reported antisocial behaviour several times and feel no action has been taken, you can request activation of the Community Trigger.
Acting on your report
We take reports of antisocial behaviour very seriously. After you report an incident, we will contact you within three working days to tell you we are looking into the case.
If the case cannot be solved simply, we will meet you at your home, in an office or somewhere easy for you. At this meeting, we will write a list of actions to say what we will do to help solve the problem and also what we need from you. We will need evidence from you to support the case and may need to talk to other witnesses.
Potential actions which can be taken by us include:
- mediation – working with both parties separately or together to prevent future problems, providing support to help people resolve their differences
- warnings – written and verbal warnings of further action if behaviour does not improve
- acceptable behaviour contract – agreement between the perpetrator and us to stop the behaviour
- parental contracts – an agreement between the parent and us to promise parental control over their child’s behaviour
- good neighbour contracts – an agreement between the perpetrator and neighbour to stop the antisocial behaviour
- an antisocial behaviour injunction – a legal order which demands that the perpetrator stops acting antisocially
- action against tenancy – in the most serious cases we may work with the perpetrator’s landlord to take tenancy action against the perpetrator/s, which could result in eviction
If several reports of antisocial behaviour or hate crime have been made with no action taken you can use the Community Trigger to demand a response from us.
To support you we will:
- keep your details confidential and only share them with your permission
- deal with anonymous complaints - we will not be able to tell you about the action we have taken if you decide to report it anonymously
- agree a course of action with you when you report an issue to us which means that we will not take action in most cases unless you are happy with what we are going to do
- talk to you about specialist support available to you and refer you to these services appropriately
- discuss with you the ways we can help you gather evidence of the problems and keep you safe
- keep you informed of the action we take
- continue to review your needs in light of any action we take and address any issues that may occur