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anti social behaviour policy

Anti-Social Behaviour and Hate Crime Policy

Our customers continually identify dealing effectively with Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) as one of their top priorities. Halton Housing’s approach is to deal with ASB professionally creating an environment which encourages positive tolerant behaviour. If customers are subject to ASB, harassment or hate crime we will respond quickly identifying the action needed and support required to resolve the complaint at the earliest opportunity. We understand the importance of partnership, working with statutory and voluntary organisations, key stakeholders, our customers and community to provide stable and secure neighbourhoods for all our customers.

To tackle ASB Halton Housing has signed up to the Respect ASB Charter, using the principles and commitments within the Charter we are able to deliver a high quality ASB service based on best practice which is clearly focused on outcomes for customers and the wider community.

Policy Statement

To understand our approach we have defined ASB, hate crime and harassment and identified examples of ASB. The term ‘anti-social behaviour’ (ASB) can cover manydifferent types of behaviour.

For the purposes of this policy, Halton Housing accepts working definitions of anti-social Behaviour including:

  • Conduct which is capable of causing nuisance, annoyance harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not in the same household.
  • Conduct which directly or indirectly impacts on the housing management functions of Halton Housing.
  • Conduct which consists of or involves using or threatening to use housing accommodation owned or managed by Halton Housing for unlawful purposes.The policy also identifies the importance of tackling harassment and hate crime and the following are definitions of both
  • Harassment – This involves verbal or physical behaviour that intimidates dominates or harms an individual, a family or a group.

Halton Housing has used Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) definition as: ‘Anyincident which may or may not constitute a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim or any person, as being motivated by prejudice or hate. Prejudice or hate may be based on characteristics including:

  • Disability
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Transgender

The following are examples of anti-social behaviour, although the examples listed below are not exhaustive or exclusive:

  • Noise nuisance e.g. loud parties, shouting, excessive noise from TV’s, Audio System, machinery and vehicles
  • Aggressive or threatening language and behaviour, or the threat of violence
  • Actual violence against people or property
  • Using homes to cultivate or sell drugs or for other unlawful purposes
  • Environmental factors such as litter, dog fouling, graffiti, fly tipping
  • Misuse of property and nuisance from vehicles

It is important to also understand that Halton Housing also receives complaints regarding ASB which after investigation would be deemed a clash of lifestyle or there is information that the behaviour identified is not anti-social. In either case Halton Housing will advise all parties and if appropriate identify other options available to those involved.

To ensure effective management of ASB Halton Housing draws on best practice using the seven core commitments identified within the Respect ASB Charter.

1. Leadership and Strategic Commitment

Throughout the Trust we are committed to dealing effectively with ASB and Hate Crime, ensuring that the service is effectively resourced .We communicates our commitment to customers, partners, stakeholders and the wider community through leaflets, website and local media. All staff are trained for the roles including updates on best practise and legislative changes; this enables relevant front line staff to receive and investigate complaints supported by our specialist ASB and legal team who deal with serious cases and all reports of Hate Crime. We co-operate with all partners within Halton ensuring a pro-active and co-ordinated approach for the benefit of all within the community.

2. An accessible and accountable service

Customers are able to access our service at any time using a variety of methods including phone, e-mail and the internet. When resolving ASB and Hate Crime we treat all complaints sympathetically understanding individual needs and tailoring our response to resolve their concerns. To ensure effective service development we involve our customers through satisfaction surveys customer forum, local offers and ASB working groups to improve our service publicising the outcomes of surveys and reviews.

3. Swift action to protect communities

The Trust endeavours to resolve ASB and Hate Crime at the earliest opportunity and will use the powers available. We will adapt our approach to the circumstances using the most effective tool available but ensuring that our approach is justifiable and proportionate. We will use the legal powers available updating our approach to reflects legislative changes. We will ensure that there is effective management and monitoring of all cases with regular reviews to ensure a consistent approach assessing the impact of our actions with the aim of closing cases within a reasonable time for the benefit of all involved.

4. A supportive approach to working with victims and witnesses

Victims and witnesses are at the centre of our approach, when interviewing customers we will understand their issues and concerns and using a risk matrix identify their support needs. In partnership with others organisations we will ensure that once recognised, support needs are acted upon either providing direct support or via partner organisations. We will use action plans to confirm how we will manage the case providing support to victims and witnesses especially at key stages of the process for example appearance at court. As part of our approach to supporting customers it is important that they engage with the action we are taking to resolve the ASB, because without their participation it will be difficult to deal effectively with their concerns.

5. Encouraging individual and community responsibility

The Trust and partner organisations aim to promote tolerance, balancing individual liberties with their impact on others and the community. We achieve this by the use of good neighbourhood agreements, and restorative justice schemes. The Trust also encourages customers to initially attempt to resolve the issues directly providing this does not lead to excessive personal risk. In the right circumstances the Trust supports community involvement to promote positive behaviour and encourage community cohesion and stability.

6. A clear focus on prevention and early intervention

When dealing with ASB effective action starts prior to letting our homes, our lettings policy enables investigation into potential customer’s history and if information is obtained which identifies that they are unable to maintain a tenancy they may be refused access to a home. Our tenancy agreement makes clear customers responsibility not to cause ASB, harassment or hate crime. Once in receipt of a complaint we understand the need to use early intervention actions such as mediation and direct contact as this can resolve most cases before the issues intensify. Using our statistical information we will identify hot spot areas working in partnership with other organisations to identify immediate and long term solutions.

7. A value for money approach is embedded in our service

We will provide a cost effective service for all customers with agreed identified budgets for the prevention and resolution of ASB using costs from previous action over recent years. When using external services we will market test to ensure value for money is obtained and we will ensure that our costs are transparent and open to customer scrutiny panel.

Regulatory and/or Legal Compliance

The Trust’s Anti-Social Behaviour, Harassment and Hate Crime Policy and its associated procedures are compatible with obligations imposed by existing legislation, including:

  • Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014 Page 5 of 7
  • Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003
  • Crime and Disorder Act 1998
  • Police Reform Act 2002
  • Housing Act 1985 (as amended by the Housing Act 1996);
  • Homelessness Act 2002;
  • Protection from Eviction Act 1997
  • Children Act 1989
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Protection of Freedoms Act 2012
  • Race Relations Act 1976 and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000
  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Commission for Racial Equality Code of Practice on Rented Housing 1991

The HCA’s current Regulatory Framework that came into force from April 2012 hassome specific expectations within the Neighbourhood and Community Standard that relate to ASB.

This states that:

‘3.1 Registered providers should publish a policy on how they work with relevant partners to prevent and tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in areas where they own properties.

3.2 In their work to prevent and address ASB, registered providers shall demonstrate:

  • That tenants are made aware of their responsibility and rights in relation to ASB
  • Strong leadership, commitment and accountability on preventing and tackling ASB that reflects a shared understanding of responsibility with other local agencies;
  • A strong focus exists on preventing measures tailored towards the needs of tenants and their families;
  • Prompt, appropriate and decisive action is taken to deal with ASB before it escalates, which focuses on resolving the problem having regard to the full range of tools and legal powers available;
  • All tenants and residents can easily report ASB, are kept informed about the status of their case where responsibility rests with the organisation and are appropriately signposted where it does not;
  • Provision of support to victims and witnesses”

Halton Housing will look to meet this regulatory requirement by the effective implementation of this policy

Diversity Considerations

A full EIA has previously been carried out on the policy due to the changes identified the issues covered and the combination of previous policies. The policy was shared with both voluntary and statutory agencies, including the police, Halton Borough Council, other Registered Social Landlords and other relevant bodies. The assessment and the information reviewed from the consultation has been taken into account to ensure that the policy effectively supports vulnerable individuals and groups.

Links to Strategies, Procedures and Associated Documents

Of the 5 main priorities within Our Direction’ the policy underpins focus our resources and services by targeting support for victims and action against perpetrators of ASB and Hate Crime. It also impacts on protect current income by maintain stable communities and customers within their homes.

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