“Anti-social behaviour damages lives and communities. Victims want the police and councils to use all the powers at their disposal so that they can once again feel safe in their own homes.”

This is the closing line to this interesting look at Anti-social behaviour (ASB) from BBC Panorama.

ASB is a massive issue that blights communities and has a terrible impact on people’s lives. I am privileged to work with many landlords and local authorities who are deeply committed to tackling ASB and making their communities safer and more enjoyable places to live. But it’s not always easy. Many Landlord’s first response, and rightly so, is to see what help and support they can offer to the perpetrator (as well as victims of course) to deal with the root cause of the ASB and stop it. Sometimes this is successful and is to be celebrated. But when it doesn’t work, communities can become disillusioned and feel like action isn’t being taken. When enforcement action is required, from a legal point of view, there can be issues getting evidence of the ASB to present to a court so that something can be done, because understandably people are afraid to report issues for fear of reprisals. In this case, Housing Officers often put themselves on the line to give evidence as hearsay. This gives the Landlord at least a chance to get some legal protections in place. Such evidence can be accepted in a civil court but may be given less weight by a Judge. Often there are delicate competing issues that need to be held in balance, such as the mental or physical health of a perpetrator or victim.