Many of the issues that the Community Relations Unit (CRU) deals with focus on people experiencing excessive noise from one of their neighbours. What happens when CRU get involved? A typical case might look something like this:
Initial complaint received
The GCC Antisocial Behaviour Noise Service pass on details of a persistent issue with loud music in a flat. A statement is taken from the complainer at home and supporting evidence is obtained from the Noise Officers and Police Scotland. They have both issued warnings regarding loud music and domestic disturbances.
Interview with the perpetrator
We meet the alleged perpetrator who blames his friends for the noise. We advise him that he is responsible for guests and visitors to his flat and ask if he needs any support. He lets us know he has problems with alcohol and has an addiction worker. We leave a written warning advising of the consequences of the problems continuing and we let him know we will make contact with his addiction worker.
The next week we receive another report of a party which has gone on from the Friday evening until Saturday morning with loud, hysterical shouting, stamping and blaring music. We visit the alleged perpetrator a few days later with his a support worker. Again, he blames his friends for the noise. We outline the impact his behaviour is having on his neighbours and his support worker advises on the importance of not allowing people into his flat that cause trouble.
Second formal warning issued
Following the latest report, we issue a written warning outlining the possibility of an ASBO if the trouble continues. This details what an ASBO would mean to him (i.e. if breached, the penalty on criminal conviction can range up to six months in prison and/or a £5,000 fine).
Unacceptable Behaviour Notice Issued
A week later, we receive further reports from the complainer and the Noise Team. The Noise Team have measured the level of noise, which was above the acceptable level for that time of day and so a formal Noise Warning was issued. We try to contact the alleged perpetrator, but he doesn't show up for his appointments, the support worker also advises that he has been missing their appointments. An Unacceptable Behaviour Notice is served, co-signed by Police Scotland and his Housing Officer. It states the nature of the incidents and reiterates the possible consequences.
Three weeks later, we receive more complaints regarding loud music and disturbances at the address. We find out through an information sharing agreement with Police Scotland that they have warned the householder and one of his friends following a disorderly party at his flat.
Final Warning Issued
We visit the perpetrator at home with a Community Police Officer and issue him with a final warning. He apologises and says he will engage with his support worker to change his behaviour.
Legal Action - ASBO Granted
One month later another excessive noise complaint is received. As a final warning had been issued and another neighbour is also willing to provide a statement, we consult with colleagues at Glasgow City Council Legal Services to begin preparing the court action for an ASBO. All reasonable measures have not prevented the antisocial behaviour and so we begin formal legal action. The conditions of the ASBO are to prevent him from making excessive noise, or allowing visitors to his home from making excessive noise that causes, or is likely to cause, alarm or distress to other residents in the property.
Two weeks after the ASBO is granted at Glasgow Sheriff Court, Police Scotland are called on a Friday night and witness excessive noise, confirming a breach of the ASBO. The Police arrest the perpetrator and hold him in custody for a court appearance on the Monday morning. At court, special bail conditions are applied preventing him from returning to his flat until the criminal trial in two month's time giving the other residents of the property some respite from the noisy parties.
Following his court appearance, the perpetrator re-engages with his support worker, who plans a care programme for him. As he has been advised that an ASBO can result in his tenancy status being downgraded and possible eviction, he decides to give up the tenancy and move out. This helps with the care programme and allows him to create some distance from the 'friends' who have been causing problems for him. This also provides a long-term resolution to the other residents who can now peacefully enjoy their homes.