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ASB, Street Drinking & HiMOs

by Inspector Barry Thacker, Force Partnership Liaison Officer, Safer Derbyshire`

The Issue

Mr & Mrs O have lived at their current address for 20 years and Mr & Mrs C have lived at their home address for 6 years. Both have kept detailed ASB diaries since the initial report was made in 2009.

The owner of nearby Bed & Breakfast accommodations is a Mr L who lives elsewhere and rents to Mrs W who operated these facilities as a private business. Mr & Mrs O and Mrs W were once close friends.

One premise has been closed before due to class A drugs being present. After this closure it was agreed that the premise could be used to house vulnerable young adults who were homeless. The residents in all the B&B’s are placed in the accommodation by a number of agencies.

ASB problems continued to be experienced. Examples of general nuisance, noise, walking up the road pulling number plates off vehicles, false fire alarms, snowballing, intimidation (threatened to kick Mrs C who was heavily pregnant at the time), and street drinking.

Mediation between the parties was tried but withdrew as one party considered it not workable.

It was explained that each resident affected by the problems was referred for Person Susceptible to Harm (PSH) so a camera could be installed on the street; however no resident met the matrix so a camera could not be sanctioned.

Mr O stated that Mrs W is not always on site and when residents visited to complain no one came to the door or answered the phone.

It has been suggested that drugs are being used at the premises and that Mrs W‘s son may be supplying to the residents.

Young people were being placed in the B&B’s that had presented themselves as homeless to the local council and Social Services. Young people were placed at the B&B whilst alternative care or accommodation could be located for them and a care plan produced. Many of these young people had vulnerability issues, dysfunctional behaviour and required a high level of monitoring in relation to their behaviour. Some also had a high level of Criminal and ASB related behaviour. This in turn was then displayed in and around the B&B premise impacting on the local residents.

Another problem was that the other B&Bs are within a few streets each with around 6 young people at each address. Due to the closeness of these premises the problems experienced have been magnified causing more frequent incidents of ASB for the local residents. The local SNT have worked hard to resolve the issues that have arisen from these premise with regular patrols and meeting with local residents.

A section 30 Dispersal order has been extended to cover the area to address large group gathering and drinking.

Fire have also made checks at these premise in relation to smoke alarms and fire escapes, but due to these premises being classed as dwelling houses there is little legislation to enforce interventions. Problems have also been experienced when fire crews have attended false alarms. There has been no responsible adult at the establishment to reset alarms, so causing more noise nuisance for the community.

The Approach

All information was uploaded to ECINS where the various agencies involved in the case could pull the information together. This led to the main problem B&B being inspected, (with the others likely to follow), and it was established that a license in respect of House Of Multiple Occupancy (HOMO) be applied.

Fail to license can lead to a £20k fine and/or the property closed down.

Current Situation

ECINS RAM score 16, 24, and 32. Mr C is suffering from depression due to the problems. There are at least 2-3 families at potential of high risk of victimisation.

The main problem would appear to be that the premises is not suitable for young people as it’s within a built up area with no garden forcing the young people to meet on the road and so annoy others residents.

A survey of the residents showed that 80% felt that there was at least some low level disorder that impacts on their quality of life regularly.

Mrs W is having an ABC drawn up, and one identified offender is in the judicial process awaiting an ASBO application.

The Future

The County Council are reviewing the provision that is provided for these young people with a report due to provide a purpose built unit with individual rooms, and developing a minimum standards policy for any short term accommodation provision.

“Residents were being tormented for a number of years by occupants of a local B&B that provided short term care of under 18 year olds that presented themselves to local councils as homeless. This provision was also being used by other areas outside of the county with no background intelligence or information being provided as to their needs and potential offending history. This resulted in a number of calls for service to the police who, together with the local CSP tried to mediate, and resolve the problem but the problem persisted. By using ECINS case management has been used to coordinate and pull all the relevant information together and established other agencies involvement and have led to a key offender awaiting an ASBO, the B&B manager having an ABC prepared, and the local council starting legal proceedings with support from the fire and rescue service to have the premises licensed as a House of multiple occupancy”.

Inspector Barry Thacker, Force Partnership Liaison Officer, Safer Derbyshire

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