Tag Archives: children

Those Summer Nights

Summer brings an increase in anti-social behaviour. With warmer weather and longer days there are more people out and about, gathering together on street corners and parks, or in their homes. This is all wonderful. In the last week alone I have attended an evening BBQ, hosted a dinner party including pre-dinner drinks out in the garden, and been part of a big family group enjoying a picnic and games in the local park. I love the chance to be out and about and enjoy that atmosphere of friendship and fun together. The problem comes when either a gathering gets out of hand, or when the initial motivation was one of causing nuisance in the first place. Agencies report a clear increase in alcohol-related incidents in the summer. Not only can this create noise as well as littering, it can intimidate other people and become a nuisance that would deter others from using community spaces. We need to be considerate of others when we gather with our friends.

Being Considerate of Others

Keep in mind:

bullet Not everyone is on holiday – your neighbours may be getting up for work the next morning and need their sleep.

bullet Remember that if you have opened your windows in the warm weather, any household noise will be amplified

bullet In the warm weather, bad smells are exacerbated so remember to dispose of waste properly including cleaning up after your dog! Perhaps it’s time to attack that untidy garden
too.

bullet We all spend more time out in the garden in the summer – sometimes disputes arise between neighbours with regard to boundary hedges and fences – try and use the opportunity of being out in your garden more to approach your neighbor and build up a relationship, not to pick a fight.

bullet Take a deep breath when the noise from children and teenagers gets too loud. We were all children once and it is good to see them outside enjoying some fresh air, rather than stuck in front of computer games all day long. Let’s get the best out of these current warm days.

Summer is often all too short – let’s enjoy it responsibly and try and be reasonable. If you are struggling (and tempers can flare much quicker in the hot weather) see our tips on coping with frustration and anger.

Ensuring Great Summer Holidays

Children will get bored if they are just at home all summer. Many areas have free activities going on for children of all ages – why not ask at your local library and see what’s on offer? If you live in a flat or house with poor insulation, be considerate of your neighbours if your children are inside all summer. It might be worth getting out and meeting your neighbours and taking the opportunity to apologise in advance for the nuisance your children could cause with their noise (or balls going over the fence, etc). This can be powerful – instead of allowing resentment to grow in your neighbour’s mind, you build a relationship instead, or improve a strained one.

Community Action

If there is an issue going on in your street or more widely in your community, the summer can be a good time to get out and find out what other residents think. It could lead to positive steps to make a difference in your area – perhaps form a Neighbourhood Watch or Residents’ Association. There is power in numbers and you may be eligible to activate the Community Trigger if nothing is happening in your local area. You may also decide it is worth gathering signatures for a petition to push for action.

Suffering Anti-Social Behaviour?

If you are suffering as a result of anti-social behavior, especially one that is alcohol-related, then report it to the relevant agency. Most are at the ready in the summer, with different operations to focus on tackling anti-social behaviour so do not be afraid to contact them for help.

Our Hands are Tied

The residents have been told that because the group are all about 10 years old their hands are tied.

A large group of around ten children ageing from 8-12 have been climbing into people’s gardens, removing children’s toys/bikes and dumping them on the road and the cricket pitch in a Devonshire town. They climb over cars, hitting fences, bins and public seats with metal poles, all accompanied by swearing and shouting.

“I have gone from enjoying my new home over the past 5 months to the stage where I’m now embarrassed to have people visit. My friends will now often walk as they don’t want to risk damage to their cars. I find myself constantly having to get children out of my garden and now cannot upgrade my garden as planned for fear it will attract them more when I’m away with work. I cannot relax when I get home because of the noise of swearing and I’m constantly fearful of damage to my car/property.” ‘Katya’ explains. “I first tried reasoning with two children that climbed into my garden and explained how they could damage stuff and that they would understand when they were older.

By the morning I noticed they had kicked a hole in my fence and dumped a bin of rubbish all over the road. I and several other residents have on different occasions called 101 and have been told they would send a police car around to talk to us and move the children away. This has not happened!”

Katya’s neighbour wrote to the Police Complaints Commission and within a week got a response. Two PCSO officers went to his house. They were shown video of the disruptive behaviour and they recognised many of the children from an estate about a mile away but unfortunately they are known to the police and due to their age they can’t really act. The residents have been told that because the group are all about 10 years old their hands are tied. Even if they continue to climb over cars into gardens if they don’t actually damage anything then it’s just trespass and noise. They have been rightly told that noise is dealt with by the council and not the police.

I and several other residents have on different occasions called 101 and have been told they would send a police car around to talk to us and move the children away. This has not happened!” Katya’s neighbour wrote to the Police Complaints Commission and within a week got a response. Two PCSO officers went to his house. They were shown video of the disruptive behaviour and they recognised many of the children from an estate about a mile away but unfortunately they are known to the police and due to their age they can’t really act. The residents have been told that because the group are all about 10 years old their hands are tied. Even if they continue to climb over cars into gardens if they don’t actually damage anything then it’s just trespass and noise. They have been rightly told that noise is dealt with by the council and not the police.

Our Comments

It is difficult to read Katya’s story and see this situation unresolved. She has done everything right – first of all attempting to speak to the children directly, then when the problems continued, reporting them. She mentions what the other residents have been told and it sounds like they have discussed the problem together.

The fact that they have been given explanations from the Police indicates that they have been listened to and been given reasons why nothing is being done. Yet can it be right that someone has gone from enjoying their new home to feeling embarrassed to have visitors, unable to relax for the noise and fear of damage to property and vehicles? It seems to us that there is a whole area where anti-social behaviour can be very difficult to address – where the perpetrators are themselves vulnerable. Young children, older people, those struggling with mental health problems, people where there is a concern by agencies of discrimination due to race, disability or sexuality.

Perhaps the missing link here is what other work is being done with the perpetrators. For this group of 10 year olds there is no mention of the parents. If they are known to the police, is work being done with these children to change their behaviour? Is there hope for Katya and her neighbours that the behaviour will stop? We sincerely hope so as such behaviour should not have to be tolerated.

She has done everything right – first of all attempting to speak to the children directly, then when the problems continued, reporting them. She mentions what the other residents have been told and it sounds like they have discussed the problem together. The fact that they have been given explanations from the Police indicates that they have been listened to and been given reasons why nothing is being done. Yet can it be right that someone has gone from enjoying their new home to feeling embarrassed to have visitors, unable to relax for the noise and fear of damage to property and vehicles?

It seems to us that there is a whole area where anti-social behaviour can be very difficult to address – where the perpetrators are themselves vulnerable. Young children, older people, those struggling with mental health problems, people where there is a concern by agencies of discrimination due to race, disability or sexuality. Perhaps the missing link here is what other work is being done with the perpetrators. For this group of 10 year olds there is no mention of the parents. If they are known to the police, is work being done with these children to change their behaviour? Is there hope for Katya and her neighbours that the behaviour will stop? We sincerely hope so as such behaviour should not have to be tolerated.

Never Give Up Fighting

“Never, never give up fighting. Previous neighbours from Hell who owned their property … took fifteen years, but we won.” Pepper

Pepper is familiar with anti-social behaviour. Currently he experiences noise nuisance in rented properties next door and at the back of their property. He has reported this to Environmental Health, Community Policing, the Landlord of the properties, and Social Services. He frequently suffers stress, doesn’t sleep properly and admits his temper is permanently on a short fuse.

Thanks to anti-social behaviour, Pepper doesn’t really enjoy being at home at weekends due to noise. Yet he has a message of hope: “Never, never give up fighting. However hard the going gets, fight till a result is gained. Previous neighbours from Hell who owned their property … took fifteen years, but we won.” 15 years sounds unbearable but Pepper knows if he got owners out of their house, then tenants should be much more straightforward. He will pester the local agencies involved until the fight is won again.

[Source: online survey]