Friday, 23 July 2010

How to report anti-social behaviour

Last night, on Undercover Boss on Channel 4, we were interested to see Kevan Collins, the Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets Council working with two of the new team of Tower Hamlets Enforcement Officers (THEOs).

His concern was whether they were allocating their time to the right sort of priorities.  It's very likely that local residents would agree with this view given their very real concerns about the way in which the Mile End Dispersal Zone is NOT achieving the desired results (see Top 10 Problems with the Kerrygold Garden).

Anti-Social Behaviour Minimum standards 

The ASB minimum standards (pdf, 151kb) outlines the standard of service that you can expect from the Council and its partners (including EastendHomes and the Police) when dealing with anti-social behaviour.  That's the baseline level of service that we can hold them accountable for delivering.

The Council also emphasises the importance of actually reporting incidents of anti-social behaviour to the Council. What follows comes from the Anti-social behaviour page on the Council's website.
How to report anti-social behaviour

You do not have to be a council tenant to make a report. Anyone living, working or visiting in Tower Hamlets can report ASB to the council’s community safety service, however tenants should report ASB to their landlords in the first instance.

We take a balanced approach to reports of serious anti-social behaviour, and use a number of tools established by the Crime & Disorder Act 1998 and the ASB Act 2003 to deal with ASB. You can read about enforcement tools here.

How to report ASB

Help us to help you: if you experience anti-social behaviour:
The council aims to make it as easy as possible for Tower Hamlets residents to report anti-social behaviour. The council takes harassment and anti-social behaviour very seriously and understands that it is a sensitive and emotive issue.

The council is aware that sometimes victims of ASB do not report incidents that happen in Tower Hamlets for fear of reprisal or due to the difficulties of language barriers. Victims are often reluctant to talk about their experiences and the council encourages them to report any incidents in a secure and confidential manner.

The council has highly experienced staff who can support you throughout the reporting process and the anti-social behaviour investigation. The council also has language support officers to help you if you experience any language barriers. For more information on this, please refer to the section on the language support team.

What happens when I make a report?

  1. Once received by the Community Safety Service your complaint will be assessed and allocated to the appropriate Investigation Officer (please see complaint categories below).
  2. You will be contacted by a dedicated community safety customer services officer who will take further information from you regarding your complaint. The officer will then inform you of who your investigation officer will be.
  3. An initial statement will be taken from you by your investigation officer.
  4. Once evidence is gathered the victim/complainant, any witnesses and the perpetrator will be interviewed.
  5. The investigation process may include surveillance, the installation of security equipment, working with the safer neighbourhoods teams, legal team and any other relevant agencies.
  6. There will be a decision on the action to be taken.
  7. Possible action taken. These may take form of warning letters, injunctions, acceptable behaviour contracts (ABC’s), anti-social behaviour orders (ASBO’s), parenting contract, mediation, demotion orders or notice of seeking possession (NOSP).

Complaints regarding the below are dealt with by the community safety service

  • serious damage to council property
  • attack on the person (leading to physical Injury)
  • domestic violence
  • drug dealing
  • threatening behaviour & / or verbal abuse (not leading to actual bodily assault)
  • prostitution
  • hate crimes
  • noise from businesses
  • youth or gang violence

Complaints regarding the below are dealt with by your local service centre

  • drug/substance abuse
  • uncontrolled dogs/pets
  • noise nuisance
  • door knocking/banging
  • rubbish left outside property/common parts
  • abandoned vehicles
  • nuisance behaviour from children

MERA will be encouraging local residents to report via all the mechanisms outlined above as well as the ones they have been told about.  We'll also be monitoring the timeliness and effectiveness of responses received as a result.

PS - We were also very interested to hear in the programme that Kevan Collins used to be a teacher in Mile End.  We wondered what he'd make of the current lack of primary school places for children living locally in Mile End.

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