Q: What is Antisocial Behaviour?
A: The Antisocial Behaviour etc. (Scotland) Act 2004 defines antisocial behaviour as occurring when a person "acts in a manner that causes or is likely to cause alarm or distress, or pursues a course of conduct that causes or is likely to cause alarm or distress to at least one person not of the same household as them". Antisocial behaviour very often takes the form of a pattern of behaviour, however, a single act, if serious enough, can also fall within the meaning of antisocial behaviour.
Q: If someone is reported for Antisocial Behaviour, what action will be taken?
A: Each case is considered individually. In most cases problems can be resolved through discussion, mediation or warnings. When voluntary solutions are not effective or appropriate then enforcement action can be taken. The type of enforcement action depends on the circumstances.
Q: Why it is important to report cases of Antisocial Behaviour?
A: We all have a responsibility to treat neighbours and others in the wider community with respect. Antisocial behaviour can affect not just individuals or families but whole communities. We should therefore feel encouraged to report antisocial behaviour, even if it isn't happening directly to ourselves.
Q: How can the Community Safety Team help resolve problems?
A: The Community Safety Team can identify the person or agency that might best be able to assist you with your problem and make referrals on your behalf. We co-ordinate partnership working aimed at solving complex antisocial behaviour issues.
Q: Can I remain anonymous when I report Antisocial Behaviour?
A: All enquiries to the Community Safety Team are treated in confidence and we would encourage anyone to complain if they are affected by antisocial behaviour. Where an anonymous complaint is received we have to confirm the substance of the complaint before we can take any action. This can be difficult without knowing who is making the complaint. Also it is important for us to be able to contact the person making the complaint to ensure that any measures taken have been effective.
Q: What is an Acceptable Behaviour Contract?
A: An Acceptable Behaviour Contract or ABC is a voluntary agreement drawn up with the person being complained about and is aimed at reducing the behaviour that has caused alarm or upset. Experience has shown that in the majority of cases, those individuals who sign up to an ABC alter their behaviour and complaints are reduced or stop all together.
Q: What is an Antisocial Behaviour Order?
A: Often known as an ASBO this is a civil order granted in the Sheriff Court. The order sets out the behaviour or course of conduct that must cease. Any breach of such an order enables the police to arrest the individual and further court action can follow. This may include either a fine or imprisonment.
Q: Who can apply to the court for an Antisocial Behaviour Order?
A: The Council or Registered Social Landlord can make an application for an Antisocial Behaviour Order to the local Sheriff Court. An Antisocial Behaviour Order may be granted against anyone over 12 years of age who is resident in that area, and can be applied to any such person regardless of whether they live or lodge in rented accommodation or are owner occupiers.
Q: As a tenant, what can I do if I have a problem with my neighbour?
A: All landlords have a responsibility to ensure their tenants do not cause antisocial behaviour so in the first instance you should contact your landlord or the landlord of the person causing the problem. If a Registered Social landlord is unable to resolve the problem they will usually liaise with the Community Safety Team and other partners to find a solution. Mediation can often help in neighbour problem situations.
Q: What can be done about a neighbour's persistent excessive noise?
A: In some cases persistent excessive noise from domestic noise-making equipment can be considered to be antisocial behaviour. In Dumfries and Galloway, Police Scotland respond to complaints about domestic noise out of office hours. The Community Safety Team can deal with ongoing domestic noise complaints and have specially trained staff who can use noise monitoring equipment if necessary. Noise complaints can often be remedied by getting parties to make small changes to behaviour and the team can deliver mediation to assist with this process.
Q: What can be done to stop my neighbour's animals constantly causing disturbance through animal noise in their garden or within their house?
A: In the first instance you should try speaking with the owner of the animal who may be unaware of the problem being caused. In extreme cases, loud or persistent animal noise might be considered to amount to antisocial behaviour, with a range of possible measures. Landlords should ensure that tenants who have animals do not cause a nuisance. It may also be necessary for you as an individual to take action through the District Court under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
Q: What happens if the case needs to go to court?
A: Most cases of antisocial behaviour never need to go as far as the Courts. However, in the unlikely event you have to attend court as a witness, a member of the Community Safety Team will be there to offer you support. In addition, the Council has a dedicated ASB Solicitor whom the Community Safety Team will contact to provide any relevant legal advice.
Q: Who are the Community Safety Team?
A: Community Safety Officers and Community Safety Enforcement Officers are an additional resource that provide a reassuring presence, patrolling the streets, identifying and reporting incidents or problems, many of which relate to antisocial behaviour. The team can be contacted using the the contact details shown below.