Anti-Social Behaviour

What is anti-social behaviour?

Dealing with the problem

Making a complaint and providing evidence

Formal action

Key tips for affected tenants/complainants

 

What is anti-social behaviour?

Anti-social behaviour is a general term which refers to behaviour that adversely affects the health, safety or well-being of other tenants. In the context of student housing, this can include vandalism, setting off fire alarms, abusive behaviour, excessive noise, dumping rubbish or tampering with the health and safety equipment in a house, flat or development. Anti-social behaviour may be perpetrated by a friend of a tenant, but tenants are responsible for the behaviour of anyone brought into a property.

Dealing with the problem

As this is a wide-ranging term, the options available and method for dealing with the problem will vary depending on the nature and extent of the behaviour. It is often found that someone who is responsible for one of these activities may be engaging in other forms of anti-social behaviour affecting other tenants.

Unipol, college and university authorities take damage to health and safety or fire equipment extremely seriously. Causing damage of this kind can result in students being summoned to a disciplinary hearing at their institution, which can result in them being suspended or permanently excluded from their course.

It is important that, when dealing with anti-social behaviour, all tenants work together to tackle it. Behaviour which may appear amusing at first can soon be seen as anti-social when it occurs in the middle of exam time or when work deadlines loom.

For Unipol to take action, we need to gather evidence against the perpetrators. We may get this through CCTV and through staff witness accounts of offending behaviour, but our biggest source of evidence is other tenants. It is important that tenants give us first-hand information, in writing, of:

  • what they saw occur
  • who was involved
  • when it happened
  • any witnesses
  • any details reported to the police.

We quite often get second-hand information about who is responsible for anti-social behaviour. While useful in helping us to identify perpetrators, it is not a sufficient basis on which to take firm action.

Unipol may involve the police where vandalism has occurred and we may also involve the fire authorities over damage to fire systems and equipment. A criminal record is not something that anyone would want on their CV. In some cases, Unipol may not involve the police. Instead, in seeking to resolve the matter, we try to get the perpetrator to make an apology to anyone that has suffered as a result of their actions, and to make payment to cover the costs of repair for any damage.

Making a complaint and providing evidence

Options available to tenants affected by anti-social behaviour:

  • making a written complaint to Unipol
  • making a formal complaint to college or university
  • reporting criminal activity (including vandalism) to the police
  • encouraging other tenants to provide evidence, particularly witness statements
  • helping us to promote zero tolerance on damage to fire or other safety equipment.

We can direct affected tenants to Victim Support and the police drop-in services at Unipol. We can sometimes move a tenant who is suffering from anti-social behaviour and has made a written complaint to Unipol – we do, however, prefer to deal with the anti-social tenant who may be affecting lots of people.

If an affected tenant feels that the behaviour is motivated, in whole or in part, by the perpetrator’s attitude to their sex, race or sexuality, it may fall under different procedures within the relevant college or university. As different institutions have different procedures, it is important to talk to Unipol for advice at the earliest opportunity.

Reports of anti-social behaviour to Unipol can be made by downloading and completing an Incident Report Form provided below. We strongly advise that all crimes are reported directly to the police. Unipol will not share with the perpetrator the contents of reports submitted to us. We will do what we can to keep the names and addresses of complainants confidential. Occasionally, however, the subject of a complaint can guess who has made the complaint and they may challenge the complainant on this point. Additionally, the police may wish to contact the complainant to take a statement and obtain some further information.

Formal action

In certain cases, Unipol may suggest, or a tenant may feel, that more formal action needs to be investigated by the relevant institution.

Universities and colleges each have their own complaints procedures or student codes of behaviour. Complaints can only be made against staff or students from the institution. The procedures are often complicated but there may be an informal track available to resolve less serious issues.

Each institution will also have its own harassment procedure for students being harassed by other students or staff.

Unipol can put students affected by anti-social behaviour in touch with the appropriate person at their institution and provide information and support.

If the matter involves criminal activity, the student must report it to the police. Again, Unipol can help with contacts and provide information where appropriate. We can also help find support during any legal process.

To commence formal proceedings it is usually necessary to have evidence. This may include statements from witnesses, so it is important to keep detailed logs and notes.

We may suggest that complainants move to another Unipol property during any formal action. This can usually be arranged at short notice where necessary.

Key tips for affected tenants/complainants

  • keep detailed logs and notes including dates, times, witnesses and facts. Complainants may need help and support through any formal process
  • talk to Unipol for help and advice
  • obtain copies of the complaints procedures for the college
  • Download the Incident Report Form