Neighbourhood problems

Find out how best to deal with antisocial behaviour, damage to property, fly-posting and nuisance or noise from neighbours and businesses.

Antisocial behaviour is a broad term used to describe the day-to-day incidents of crime, nuisance and disorder that make many people's lives a misery.

This can include, but is not limited to nuisance behaviour, intimidation and harassment, vehicle related nuisance and street drinking.

The council recognises that anti social behaviour can have a detrimental impact on the quality of life of those in the community and we work in partnership with police, housing and other agencies to deal with it.

If you are currently experiencing ASB and wish to report the matter, please use the form below. If you have previously reported ASB on three or more occasions or you and four others have reported the same issue and feel that not enough has been done, please use the Community Trigger application form.

 

Alcohol
Information regarding Northumberland County Council's (NCC) Public Spaces Protection Order (alcohol).

The council has now carried out the consultation that proposed to make the NCC (alcohol) Public Spaces Protection Order. This Protection Order has been made and will be in force from Wednesday 21 October 2020

Click here to read the full notice of the making of the Public Spaces Protection order.

Click here to read the Northumberland County Council (alcohol) Public Spaces Protection Order for the consumption of alcohol.


Dog Control

To find information on Public space orders for dogs click here
If someone’s life or health is threatened, or a crime is in progress, call 999 and alert the police. This can include, but is not limited to, activity such as criminal damage, assault, theft and threatening behaviour.

Antisocial behaviour can be a one-off incident, such as a piece of offensive graffiti, but often it is a series of low level incidents which, when they continue, can become very distressing. If someone else’s behaviour is having a negative impact on you or your family and is causing you alarm, harassment or distress: In order for us to be able to take action in relation to anti social behaviour, we need to show that it is persistent and continuing and that it is having a detrimental effect on those in the locality. It is therefore useful for customers to keep a diary of incidents they believe to be anti social, which can help us to establish the level of impact. 

If the problem is only related to noise nuisance, read our advice in the statutory nuisance section.

All complaints are confidential, so you don’t need to worry about your identity being revealed. We can also accept anonymous calls providing we have enough information to investigate the incident.
In order to investigate we need details of all of the issues causing a problem. It is helpful to know:
  • how long the problem has been going on
  • how regularly it occurs
  • the location of the problem
  • if it tends to occur at a particular time
  • who is affected
  • any details you have about the person who is causing the problem
If you or the person causing the problem live in a rented property, it may be helpful to liaise with the landlord to help to resolve the problem so it is useful to know the tenure of your property.
Once we’ve collected all the information we need from you, we’ll provide you with a contact officer who is responsible for investigating your complaint and will keep you updated.

We may liaise with the police, social landlords and other tenants to get a better understanding of the issues and corroborate the allegations. We may also speak to the other party if they are known, with your agreement, to see if the problems can be resolved informally.

In some cases we may seek the views of other residents in the area, to see if anyone else is experiencing similar problems.

If we conclude a problem does exist, we will take action to resolve it. This may be an informal agreement, mediation, a warning or it could lead to a formal intervention using our legal powers, including a civil injunction or community protection notice. 
“Domestic Homicide Review” means a review of the circumstances in which the death of a person aged 16 or over has, or appears to have, resulted from violence, abuse or neglect by— (a) a person to whom he was related or with whom he was or had been in an intimate personal relationship, or (b) a member of the same household as himself, held with a view to identifying the lessons to be learnt from the death.
(Home Office Multi-agency Statutory Guidance for the Conduct of Domestic Homicide Reviews 2016)

The purpose of a DHR is to:
  • Establish what lessons are to be learned from the domestic homicide regarding the way in which local  professionals and organisations work individually and together to safeguard victims
  • Identify clearly what those lessons are both within and between agencies, how and within what timescales they will be acted on, and what is expected to change as a result
  • Apply these lessons to service responses including changes to inform national and local policies and  procedures as appropriate
  • Prevent domestic violence and homicide and improve service responses for all domestic violence and abuse victims and their children by developing a co-ordinated multi-agency approach to ensure that domestic abuse is identified and responded to effectively at the earliest opportunity
  • Contribute to a better understanding of the nature of domestic violence and abuse and 
  • Highlight good practice. 

Reviews should illuminate the past to make the future safer and it follows therefore that reviews should be professionally curious, find the trail of abuse and identify which agencies had contact with the victim, perpetrator or family and which agencies were in contact with each other.

The Community Safety partnership has a duty publish the overview report and executive summary relating to such reviews and you will find relevant reports on this page. If you require further information, you should email the DHR review team at Dhr@Northumberland.gov.uk

Current executive summaries.

SARAH 2016

JULIA 2015

Mrs A 2014

We receive numerous complaints regarding ball games.  However the legislation available to the Council is unsuitable for preventing children playing football or other games in public areas.  As an impartial service, we have to ensure that we do not unfairly label some playing of games by children as anti-social. We also recognise that some children choose to play close to their home, feeling it to be safer. 

We do not erect ‘No Ball Games’ signs as they are unenforceable and can raise public expectations, which we may be unable to resolve. 

Many children are unaware that the activity is causing any concern to others and should you feel comfortable to do so, we would in the first instance recommend talking to them or their parents. You may be able to reach an agreement that is mutually acceptable. 

If you are a parent of a child that likes to play games near your home, please encourage them to be mindful of other residents, being aware of the impact of noise and inappropriate language, and to use a soft ball where possible to reduce the likelihood of damage.

If intentional or reckless damage has been caused by the playing of such games, we would suggest contacting Northumbria Police who will respond accordingly.  You may also consider contacting the local police if you feel that the number of children playing is excessive and/or continues into unsociable hours. 
 

Your local neighbourhood police team can be contacted by calling 101 or you can make a report via their web page.

The regulation of CCTV cameras or other recording equipment by members of the public does not fall under the remit of Northumberland County Council. We do not posses the appropriate powers and as such we cannot deal with matters relating to the private use of CCTV.

The  Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is able to give further advice around the use of CCTV both for CCTV users and those who believe they are being filmed. You can find further information here:

ICO Guidance


 

The County Council is only able to enforce parking where there are restrictions in place.

Further information can be found below:

Parking information

Where you believe an obstruction by vehicle is taking place, this should be referred to the police at the time it is happening as they have the appropriate powers to deal with such matters. Police are unlikely to deal with such obstructions once the vehicle has been moved.
Northumberland County Council does not possess any powers that allow it to investigate the alleged use of drugs, even in a council property. The possession, use and distribution of prohibited drugs including cannabis is a criminal offence, which can only be investigated by police.

This includes where there is a smell of cannabis coming from a house or other dwelling. Although Environmental Health does deal with odour under nuisance legislation, this does not include odour from a domestic property.

Where we receive information regarding alleged drug use including the smell of cannabis from a property or other drug related activity, we pass this information on to the police so that it can be actioned if appropriate. It is always better however if this information comes directly from you and this can be done anonymously. 

Where police have investigated and proven drugs offences in or relating to a council property, this may be looked at by NCC as a tenancy issue and depending on the evidence provided we may take tenancy action.

Where can alleged drug offences be reported?

You should report your concerns to the police in the first instance. This can be done by calling 101 or by accessing your local police area on the Northumbria Police web page:

Northumbria Police home page

You can also report drug dealing or similar concerns anonymously at Crimestoppers at Crimestoppers
or by calling 0800 555111




 
Riding on open land, parks, rights of way and footpaths is almost always illegal. Even on private land, permission in required from the owner of the land.

The police have powers under the Police Reform Act 2002 to seize motor vehicles that are used to cause alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. Repeated offenders are warned that they may have their vehicle taken from them and disposed of and they may have to pay the cost of recovery.

Parents are warned that they may be liable to pay a recovery fee on any motorcycle seized from their child.

You can only ride an off road motorbike legally if is on private land and you have the landowners permission. Land owned by the local council is not classed as private land. Owners can be prosecuted as well as riders.

In order that such incidents can be dealt with effectively, it is important that police are contacted at the time with as much detail as possible including details of the motorcycle (registration, make, model and colour), details of the rider (name and address if known), details of what they are wearing and when and where the motorcycle is being used (days, times and routes).

You can report motorcycle disorder to Northumbria Police by calling 101 or submitting a web report below:

Northumbria Police reporting form







 
Your community safety team is dedicated to resolving anti social behaviour and nuisance issues in your area.

They are:

Emma Beniams - Senior Community Safety Officer and Prevent lead

Area Community Safety Officers:

Darren Dougan - Cramlington, Blyth and Seaton Deleval
Lynsey Green - Bedlington and Ashington
Simon Packham - Tynedale and Morpeth
Judith Davis - North Northumberland
Your community safety officer is Darren Dougan. 

       
Darren has been a community safety officer for over 10 years and has extensive knowledge of his area. He works closely with Northumbria Police and support services and has a strong background working in housing. He previously worked for Blyth Valley Borough Council.

Darren helps coordinate the Blyth area multi agency meeting at which local community safety issues are tackled using a problem solving approach. He works closely with other partners such as police and housing and has excellent working links with a variety of support agencies.

Latest News
Darren is working with police to identify offenders in the Seaton Sluice area following an increase in youth disorder and damage to property. CCTV has been installed and those identified will be dealt with robustly. Residents are asked to report any incidents to police and/or NCC so that resources can be deployed quickly. This also allows easier scrutiny of CCTV footage when a specific date and time are known.

In the Farm View, Cramlington area Darren is working with police following concerns raised relating to violent disorder and anti social behaviour. Police and Community Safety have received information from surveys and resident's reports and are investigating the concerns raised. Initial contact has been made with landlords of the properties identified and extra patrols are in place to further help gather information. Nearby residents are asked to report any further incidents so that positive action can be taken.

If you are experiencing anti social behaviour in the Blyth area you can contact Darren via Public Protection:

Telephone: 0345 600 6400

Or via email here
 
Your community safety officer is Lynsey Green

Lynsey has worked for Northumberland County Council for 25 years. She has a strong background in support services and works closely with adult and children's mental health services and safeguarding. She also attends the area multi agency meetings where local community safety issues are tackled using a problem solving approach. 








Latest News
Lynsey has continuned to work closely with police and other agencies to tackle issues around anti social behaviour and to safeguard vulnerable members of our community. COVID-19 has seen many changes to the number of type of incidents being reported and the safety of residents and community members remains a priority. Despite challenging changes to working practices as a result of COVID, Lynsey has continued to work closely with partners and local residents to tackle anti social behaviour and other issues affecting community safety in the area.

If you are experiencing anti social behaviour in the Bedlington or Ashington areas you can contact Lynsey via Public Protection.

Telephone: 0345 600 6400  or via email here
Your Community Safety Officer is Simon Packham.


Simon has worked for Northumberland County Council for 8 years after a 30 year career as a police officer. He has an extensive knowledge of a wide variety of community safety issues and is very experienced in noise and nuisance.

Simon works closely with other agencies including police and housing and helps coordinate the monthly muti agency meetings where local crime and disorder issues are discussed. He is ablle to deal with anti social behaviour and nuisance complaints from all residents, irrespective of whether or not they are a Council tenant.

COVID-19 has seen many changes to the number and type of incidents being reported  to Public Protection and the safety of residents and community members remains a priority. Despite the many challenges to working practices as a result of the pandemic, Simon has continued to work closely with local residents and partners to tackle community safety issues.

Latest News
Simon is working in partnership with local police, councillors and housing providers to tackle reports of anti social behaviour in the Hadston area. A campaign involving Crimestoppers is being planned with local councillor Scott Dickinson, which involves funding from the PCC and which aims to raise awareness of the methods available to local residents to report ASB in the area, including anonymously. 

If you are experiencing ASB in the Morpeth or Tynedale area or wish to pass on any information, you can contact Simon via Public Protection:

Telephone 0345 600 6400
or by email here
Your community safety officer is Judith Davis

Judith has been a community safety officer for 12 years following a 10 year career as a police officer. She has an extensive knowledge of the Alnwick and Amble areas and the community safety issues that affect them. She works closely with police and other agencies and has strong links with schools as part of her education and engagement role. Alongside colleagues from Public Protection she helps  coordinate the local multi agency meetings where community safety  issues are discussed and tackled using a problem solving approach. Judith deals with anti social behaviour and nuisance from all residents, irrespective of whether or not they are council tenants.


Education work
After being unable to visit schools due to COVID 19, Judith is returning to her educational work, delivering education around the safe and legal use of social media and other topics that affect young people. During the winter and the dark nights, her work will be focusing on keeping young people safe when they are by themselves or with friends.

COVID-19 has seen the use of social media increase as young people were unable to socialise face to face.
If you have concerns around your child's use of social media, you can contact Judith for advice and resources that can help you.

If you would like to know more or would like a visit to your school or organisation, please get in touch via email here


Latest News
Judith is working with police to tackle issues of anti social behaviour in and around the Alnwick area. The bus station has been an area of particular concern and as a result CCTV is now in place and being monitored by police. Any incidents should be reported to police or NCC giving the nature of the incident along with a date and time. This will allow scrutiny of the CCTV footage to take place. 
 


If you would like to report any community safety issue or get further information on any of the topics mentioned, you can contact Judith via Public Protection:

Telephone 0345 600 6400 or via email here 

You have been directed to this page as this area has recently been subject to Anti - Social Behaviour (ASB).

The area is currently being monitored which may include CCTV and Northumberland County Council
and Police patrols.

Northumberland County Council and Northumbria Police take reports of ASB seriuosly due to the detrimental effect it has on those in the area and the locality. As such anyone found to be casuing ASB will be dealt with using a variety of powers, some of which may include being banned from the area altogether.

We ask that while you are in this area, you ensure that your behaviour does not have a
negative effect on those around. This includes littering.



If you would like would like any further information about this, please contact Northumberland County Council on 0345 600 6400 and ask for your local community safety officer.

 
Learn about community triggers and how to report anti-social behaviour.

What is ASB?
Anti-social behaviour (ASB) covers a lot of different types of behaviour and can affect people in many different ways. 

For the purpose of the Community Trigger, ASB means behaviour causing or likely to cause nuisance, annoyance, harassment, alarm or distress to any member of the public or which may have a detrimental effect on someone’s quality of life.

What is a community Trigger (ASB Case Review)?

A Community Trigger (also known as an ASB Case Review) is an important statutory safety net for victims and communities experiencing ASB, to request a review of their ASB case and to bring agencies together to take a joined up, problem solving approach to find a solution for the victim(s).

An activation should be made where the Threshold is met and where victims are unsatisfied with the response they have received from the relevant agencies.

In essence, the Community Trigger process is designed to put victims at the heart of the case investigation process and for agencies to ensure you feel supported and listened to.

Threshold
In Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, the threshold to activate a Community Trigger is:

At least three qualifying complaints have been made about anti-social behaviour in the past 6 months and/or;
The victim(s) of ASB are considered to be ‘high risk'

How to Activate a community Trigger?
In Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Community Trigger activations across all of the 6 Local Authorities are coordinated by the Northumbria Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner who will:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your Community Trigger request
  • Contact you to discuss your case and obtain further information
  • Liaise with the relevant Community Safety Partnerships
  • Share information with agencies who are responsible for managing anti social behaviour
  • Record and publish relevant data relating to Community Trigger activations
 
If you meet the threshold for the Community Trigger you can contact the OPCC to raise a request in the following ways:

Online form accessed here
Email: enquiries@northumbria-pcc.gov.uk
Phone number: 0191 221 9800
Postal address:
Community Trigger Activation
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Victory House
Balliol Business Park
Benton Lane
Newcastle upon Tyne
NE12 8EW

Click here for information on the publishing data about the Community Trigger

This section provides information on how to report a nuisance relating to noise, odour, light or smoke.

 
The law on statutory nuisance relates to the behaviour of a person on their property, which interferes with another person’s enjoyment of their property. Details are set out in part three of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The act includes powers to deal with unreasonable noise, odour, smoke, accumulations and light from both neighbours and businesses.

Noise from construction and demolition sites are dealt with in a different way, so see this webpage. 
The law generally allows people to have a bonfire at any time of the day providing that the smoke given off from the fire does not cause a ‘statutory nuisance’ to other people's premises.
The law relating to statutory nuisance is set out in The Environmental Protection Act 1990 s.79 - s.80.
 
In assessing nuisance officer would look to the severity of the problems the fire was causing for example the amount of smoke created, where it was drifting and the effects it was causing in other people’s property.  Additionally we would consider how often the problems occur and how long they go on for when they do occur.
 
Generally for a nuisance to be suffered the smoke from the bonfire must affect other people's premises to such an extent that normal use of those premises is not possible. Conditions that may give rise to a statutory nuisance could be:
  • smoke entering people's houses
  • smoke blowing across gardens and preventing normal use of the garden
  • smoke affecting people's washing or
  • hot ash and cinders landing on people's property.
Additionally, where the effects of the fire have a detrimental, unreasonable and persistent  effect on a locality they could be classed as anti-social behaviour and action such as a Community Protection Notice could be taken under the Police, Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2014.
 
Under the Highways Act 1980 a person responsible for lighting a fire which causes smoke to drift across a road faces a fine if it endangers traffic. (Please contact the Police for further information if these circumstances arise).
 
The Council would normally discourage the use of garden fires for disposing of waste as there are several more appropriate methods.
 
Click on the link for further  information on disposing of household waste, bulky waste, hazardous waste and garden waste. There is also information on composting and recycling.
If you are concerned about statutory nuisance you can:
  • Talk to the person causing the problem, as they may be unaware the behaviour is disturbing you.
  • Contact specialist officers at the council who can advise you and investigate the matter if necessary.
Investigations into nuisances will assess:
  • how severe the problem is
  • how often it occurs
  • how long it lasts for
You will normally be required to complete a log or diary for a period of two to three weeks to prove these details.

Officers will assess the diary to decide if the problem requires further investigation. If so, efforts will be made to try and obtain more detailed information. This will be by installing equipment to record the problem or visiting your property to see it first-hand. If the problem is very severe, officers will attempt to visit the property more quickly.

This information will then be assessed to decide if the problem is serious enough and whether there is sufficient evidence to deal with the matter as a statutory nuisance. If so, the person responsible will be given a legal notice which requires them to stop or reduce the activity to a level where it does not cause a nuisance. This could be effective immediately or by a notice period.

The person who receives the notice has a legal right to appeal against it. Therefore, officers need to be able to provide evidence in court, such as results of monitoring, log sheets or witness statements.

If a problem is found to not be a statutory nuisance, officers will discuss approaches to improving the situation. However, this is an informal process and does not require the person responsible to participate. You can obtain independent legal advice on this matter.

In some cases, statutory nuisance is only one aspect of a problem that could include abusive, threatening or antisocial behaviour. Officers will still be able to give advice and investigate these matters as part of, or alongside, a nuisance investigation.
Here you can find out how to report damage to property, graffiti, fly-tipping and fly-posting.

Please use the appropriate section for reporting, otherwise you can contact us here.
Criminal damage is defined by the police as follows:

“Criminal damage refers to crimes where any person, without lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly destroys or damages any property belonging to another. Activities resulting in non-permanent damage (i.e. that can be rectified, cleaned off or removed at no cost) such as letting down car tyres, should not be classed as criminal damage, nor should accidental damage.”

Damage to a council property on the other hand covers crimes against households and household property including cars.
We will remove graffiti from any property in Northumberland. A small fee may be charged in some cases. We’ll also ask the property owner to sign a disclaimer, as the removal process can sometimes damage certain surfaces.

We aim to remove any obscene graffiti within 24 hours of receiving a report.
Fly-posting is the unauthorised display of an advertisement in any public place. It’s illegal to attach posters or any form of advertising to signs or street furniture, like lampposts or park benches. We will remove any fly-posting we find and legal action may be taken. 
Fly-tipping is the illegal dumping of waste. It can cause a range of problems for people, animals and the environment.