What is it?
Put simply, it’s a way that members of the public can ask relevant bodies to collectively review their responses to complaints of anti-social behaviour (ASB).
The ASB Case Review (Community Trigger) has been designed to make sure agencies such as the police, health, local councils and housing providers work together to try to resolve complaints of anti-social behaviour. This means that they will not be working in isolation but will be working together to consider more creative solutions to tackle problems.
How will we do this? We’ll talk about the problem, share information and act together to try and resolve the complaint.
When can I use it?
- If an individual has made three complaints to one or more of the case review bodies about separate incidents of ASB in the last six months; or
- If five individuals have complained separately to one or more of the case review bodies in the last six months about similar incidents of ASB in the same location and you do not feel that it has been dealt with effectively.
The Community Trigger can be used by both individuals and businesses.
It won’t replace an organisation’s own complaints procedures, and you still have the opportunity to complain to the Ombudsman or Independent Police Complaints Commission if you are unhappy about the service you have received from an individual officer or service.
For the purpose of the Community Trigger, an incident of ASB is defined as behaviour causing harassment, alarm or distress to a member of the public or business. This could include behaviour such as vandalism, public drunkenness, noisy or abusive neighbours.
The Community Trigger is not designed to replace existing anti-social behaviour reporting lines or for the reporting of general acts of crime, including hate crimes although these can be included in the number of incidents you have reported if you feel they were part of the anti-social behaviour.
How do I use it?
You will need to provide details of the date of each incident that you have reported, to who (name, organisation) and/or Incident Reference Number (if available), along with information about the anti-social behaviour incident you were reporting. You will also be asked to agree to allow your details and information about you to be shared with other agencies.
The Community Trigger can also be used by any person on behalf of a victim, for example a family member, friend, carer, councillor, Member of Parliament or other professional person. However, the victim's consent will be needed before a person can use the Community Trigger on their behalf.
What can I expect?
Once a Community Trigger application has been received and accepted, a member of staff from the Community Safety Unit will contact the other agencies involved to confirm the details of the reported incidents. You will be contacted to confirm that the Community Trigger threshold has been met, or not, and what action will be taken to deal with the issues raised.
Following validation of the threshold, the Community Safety Unit will request that agencies provide complete details of the case and any actions that have been taken to resolve the issues reported to them.
Arrangements will be made for a review panel to be formed who will then carry out a case review. The panel will involve senior staff from Police, health, council and the registered social landlord and/or other partners that may have been involved. The panel will discuss the anti-social behaviour and the actions taken.
We may invite you to come along to discuss your concerns and, following the panel meeting, you will be written to and informed of the findings, which we aim to do as quickly as possible and certainly within a maximum of 25 working days.
The relevant bodies who undertake a case review may make recommendations to other agencies. The legislation places a duty on a person who carries out public functions to have regard for those recommendations. This does not mean that they are obliged to carry them out, but that they should acknowledge them and may be challenged if they choose not to without good reason.
We will report on the number of Community Trigger applications and provide a summary of the key findings to the Ashford Community Safety Partnership and the Office of the Kent Police and Crime Commissioner.
What if I am unhappy with the way the review was handled?
If you are unhappy with the way your Community Trigger application has been handled, or the response received from the review panel, then you can request a secondary review be carried out by an independent panel.
The secondary review is the last step that can be taken in this process. If you are still unhappy you will be directed to the Ombudsmen, the Independent Complaints Commission or other most relevant body.
Check out the Home Office's guide on Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers.