With anti-social behaviour, it is a good idea to first consider tackling the problem yourself or with others before resorting to formal reporting.
Neighbours and Neighbourhood Watch
You may have a Neighbourhood Watch in your area that can help you tackle issues yourself. Remember, if it is noise related, other residents in your area are probably feeling annoyed too. Talk together. You never know – anti-social behaviour can end up being an opportunity to get to know your neighbours and create a better community atmosphere.
It is also easier to approach someone as a group and so you may want to talk to your Neighbourhood Watch group and see if the Head of the group would be willing to accompany you, or go in your place, to talk to your neighbours. If you don't have a Neighbourhood Watch group, see if there are other neighbours who would accompany you. It can be intimidating knocking on someone's door to deal with something like this.
Yet, early intervention for a nuisance or annoyance that arises is by far the most effective way to prevent it escalating into a bigger problem so it is definitely worth thinking about. See here for a case study on when to approach your neighbour.
Tips to help you
Here are some tips for you to follow to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour yourself. We assume it is a relatively small incident of anti-social behaviour.
- Ask yourself if you are being reasonable
- Go to the person calmly and explain the problems you are experiencing (or ask your Neighbourhood Watch contact to do this on your behalf)
- Don’t shout or be abusive as they may shout and be abusive to you and then it can be very difficult to move forwards from this
- If you don’t feel confident enough to approach the person face to face, try writing a polite note explaining what the problems are and post this through their door. This could also be done anonymously or as a group, e.g. writing "a few of us are a bit concerned..."
If you are in dispute with your neighbours & both parties feel they are in the right, mediation is a good option to explore. This brings both parties together with an independent person to listen to both people in the dispute and help them find a solution. Click here for information on civil mediation services which includes neighbourhood disputes.
Learn more about how it works and if mediation is right for you here: http://asbhelp.co.uk/is-mediation-right-for-you/ and read this case study where mediation would seem to be the best option for resolving the problem.
We would also advise you contact your local Council or Citizen’s Advice Bureau to ask them what mediation services are available in your local area. Some of these are offered for free.
For a printer-friendly version of this information see here: Tackling the Problem