Anti-social behaviour is consistently highlighted as a top concern in our communities: 52% of people selected it as making them feel unsafe in the most recent survey.
Anti-social behaviour covers a broad spectrum of issues and it can be difficult to know who to report concerns to.
Below is a guide to reporting and any actions you can take to either prevent anti-social behaviour or help your community to deal with it.
Cold calling is a technique whereby a salesperson contacts individuals who have not previously expressed an interest in the products or services that are being offered. Contact can be made on the telephone or at the door.
Never buy services from a cold caller – you can use www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk to find Trading Standards approved traders.
At the door:
Find more advice on protecting yourself from rogue traders and distraction burglary on our crime prevention pages.
On the phone:
Signs of drug use or dealing in your community:
The removal and disposal of needles, syringes and other drug related items that are discarded in the environment and which may pose a risk to public safety is the responsibility of your local council.
If you suspect the manufacture, sale or use of drugs in your community call 101 and report the information, making a note of any people or vehicles involved can help the police identify offenders.
Drunken behaviour came out as the fourth highest anti-social behaviour concern in our survey.
It’s not a criminal offence to drink alcohol in the street. However, individuals or groups of people drinking alcohol together can sometimes lead to rowdy or disruptive behaviour.
Visit your local council’s website to see if they have a community warden service. Community wardens help prevent antisocial behaviour and have the power to confiscate alcohol from anyone drinking in the street.
Drunken behaviour can escalate into aggressive or lewd behaviour, such as intimidation or verbal abuse of passers-by, fighting or urinating in public and these are offences. To report this type of behaviour contact the police either via the non-emergency number 101 or by calling 999 if you think the situation could get heated or violent very soon or if someone is in immediate danger.
Dog mess that is not cleared up by dog owners or dog walkers is an annoyance and is dangerous to health. Your local council is responsible for making sure that public areas are clear of dog mess.
The council’s dog warden or other council officer can issued fixed penalty fines.
When walking your dog, always take a scoop or bags with you, and put bags of dog mess in the bins provided.
Some councils like Southampton have campaigns designed to promote responsible dog ownership that you can get involved in.
If you see someone fail to clean up after their dog and you know their details or if a dog poo bin needs emptying contact your local council.
Environmental health at your local council can help you if you are experiencing statutory noise nuisance. It is not easy to define statutory noise nuisance, but it could be described as an unreasonable interference with the enjoyment of your property. You must experience it regularly and it must continue for a period of time for it to be considered unreasonable.
Noise from private households:
The following are UNLIKELY to be a statutory nuisance:
It is also very unlikely that fireworks will ever be frequent enough from any particular premises to constitute a statutory nuisance
Commercial and industrial noise
Some businesses generate noise that disturbs people living or working nearby. Environmental health will investigate complaints and if the noise is classed as a statutory nuisance, can use enforcement powers if the business does not attempt to resolve the problem. This may include prosecuting the business. Sometimes there are other control measures in place to minimise the noise coming from a business, such as planning or licensing conditions.
If you are experiencing the noise nuisance regularly contact your local council.
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of rubbish or bulky items. As well as being unsightly and expensive to clear away, it can be dangerous to health and pollute land and waterways. In our anti-social behaviour fly-tipping came out as the seventh highest issue of concern to our communities.
When disposing of your waste you must use a licensed waste carrier, or take it to a registered site – you could be fined an unlimited amount by your local council if your waste ends up fly-tipped.
If you come across waste that has been fly-tipped this should be reported to your local council.
Graffiti is writing or drawings made on a wall or other surface without permission and within public view. Graffiti ranges from simple written words or symbols to elaborate wall paintings.
To prevent graffiti on your property:
You should report graffiti to your local council – depending on land ownership they will remove the graffiti or can advise on how to get it removed.
People parking inconsiderately, such as in your allocated space or across your driveway, on pavements or opposite a junction can be frustrating. In fact 19% of you highlighted this as one of your top three anti-social behaviour concerns in our survey.
You can try to resolve the issue peacefully, after all, the individual may not be aware they’re causing a problem:
In general the first point of contact for nuisance parking and abandoned vehicles will be your local council who can help trace owners, issue fixed penalty notices, arrange the removal vehicles if necessary.
The following should be reported to the police in the first instance:
Littering came in at number nine of the top anti-social behaviour concerns highlighted in our survey. Litter is unsightly and unpleasant and it can be hazardous to wildlife. The 30 million tonnes of litter dropped every year starts with a single wrapper.
There are many community litter picking schemes that you can join, your local council may run one – the ones we know about are linked below. If not you can find or register a new community litter picking group via litter action.
Plus the next Great British Spring Clean will be held from 13 March until 20 April 2020 and most district councils will run clean up events.
Report litter and overflowing bins to your local council.
Although we would all like to get along well with our neighbours, sometimes we may face problems, common issues include noise, hedges and parking.
If the dispute involves a statutory nuisance (something like loud music or barking dogs), you can make a complaint to your local council.
You can contact your local council about high hedges but you must try and resolve the issue informally before the council can intervene.
Contact the police if your neighbour is breaking the law by being violent or harassing you.
Uncontrolled animals which are allowed to roam the street unsupervised should be reported to your local council.
The council and the police have a joint responsibility to investigate dangerous dog incidents. If a dog attacks you, your dog or another animal, you should report the incident to both the police and council for investigation.
Verbal abuse is the act of directing negative statements toward someone, causing emotional harm. Verbal abuse can be threatening, insulting, and humiliating.
If you feel verbal abuse is being directed at you or someone else because of hostility or prejudice based on race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability or transgender identity. This is a hate incident or crime and there are a variety of ways you can report this. Find out more on our Hate Crime pages.
Vandalism is the action involving deliberate destruction of or damage to public or private property. Vandalism was the top concern cited by those taking part in our anti-social behaviour survey.
Where there is evidence of vandalism elsewhere, which you wish to report so damage can be repaired, you will need to know who owns the land. This is often difficult, but a good start point is your local council.