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F E Smith
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Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I have an urgent situation. I need to get a harassment order

Resolved Question:

Hello, I have an urgent situation. I need to get a harassment order relating to my neighbour. He has become so threatening, and it is set to escalate, so on Sunday night I moved my family out of our flat - which is above his. We share communal spaces and a garden with the neighbours and it is a private property. I have two crime reference numbers, one for November 2014 and one for May 2015. In the past week hostilities have exploded. We've had the police over twice but they say their hands are tied as it is a private property. Anyway, there is much to tell. Can you help?
Anna Graziano
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

This is the nature of this harassment?

Can we have the background facts in detail please?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We moved in to our second floor flat in October 2012. Over time we worked out that our neighbour was volatile and prone to rages which we could hear unfurling below us. One night there was a lot of crashing and banging. His mother knocked on the door crying (his parents own the property, he lives there. He is 42) as he had punched his father in the face and was now dismantling the house. This is just an example. He gets into frequent rages. We continued to get on alright with them until November 2014. I had very recently brought my twins home from hospital having been through a traumatic time as they were born at 29 weeks and it was touch and go in the ICU / Special Care with them. So one night when my partner was working late I could hear him kicking off. I think it might have been fuelled by alcohol. He threw all of our pile of building waste - mostly timber - from our shared garden onto the street. (Our building waste has always been promptly removed by us). He carried on crashing around and ranting downstairs. Then my partner got home and around 1am he knocked on the door and started to go absolutely crazy at him about noise - not something he had ever flagged up before, just the opposite. But he was wild-eyed and made threats of violence towards my partner for quite some time. I called the police and they came and dealt with him and left it at that, but they did put a crime reference number on the report. The next day I went down to speak to them but they turned me away.
There was a second incident I don't remember very well but he knocked on the door and started on my dad who answered it, and myselef - threatening him and making a lot of offensive comments. I can't remember his issue at that point. Later when my father dropped something down our shared outside steps he slow clapped him.
After this my partner went downstairs and knocked on the door one morning to ask why he had behaved like that towards me and Scott barged out screaming that my partner should get off his doorstep. This time he went for him and shoved my partner on the shoulder. My partner (Will) backed off and Scott's father intervened to stop him. The raging continued for a while.
In May 2015 he went immediately crazy when we entered our garden (we own the left hand side, his parents own the right hand side) and started measuring it up with a gardener. He barged in and was right up in my partner's face for over 45 minutes, screaming and challenging him to fight and various ways, threatening to kill us or have us killed by others, and threatened to have lots of colourful kinds of violence committed to us, to burn down our property and keep on doing so. My partner backed off repeatedly and didn't engage. He tries in every situation to bring us into a slanging match and we don't join in. His insults are a long tirade of really nasty taunts. The next day I called the police, made an appointment to see them just for advice on how to deal with him. I didn't want to stir Scott up any more by inviting them over, but they took it out of my hands and visited him to have words about this behaviour. Afterwards they came up and told us not to have anything to do with him. We have a crime ref number for that event too.
Things eventually cooled off and we have even been trying to get on recently. There were still plenty of fights, slanging matches etc coming from his flat or from the garden (which overlooks the street).
Then last week I decided I had to assert myself regarding his parking of a motorbike in the communal area downstairs. The bike is blocking my external cupboard where I keep the children's buggy. He feels he has been reasonable allowing me a few inches space with which to open the door and remove it. It is very difficult to do so, especially as I am leaning over the bike and the children are there risking having it fall on them. Them he expected me to set the buggy up on the street as I can't push it through the entrance way. This is a struggle with the two infants running through the gate. Then of course I can't push it back in and must leave one child on the street while I take the other up. Anyway when I asked him to move it onto the street he said he couldn't as people had threatened to steal it - this is true - but I insisted saying I needed to be able to push it in and out. That's when he turned. He said the bike stays there. I knew that his hostility would increase as he worked himself up about the encounter and sure enough the next night he was smashing on his ceiling as we tried to sleep, it was as if he was trying to break a hole in it. He shouted obscenities and the next morning we found urine on the doorstep. I called 101 from my parents house and arranged to see the police that evening. He became extremely abusive towards them and us. The police said their hands were tied as it is private property. So once they left I went out on the step to confront him. (not allowed to write anymore so will start new para)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I recorded it but unfortunately for the first time in my life I found myself engaged in a slanging match. So when he did end up threatening to hit my partner and I called the police back, they said they could take him but they'd have to take me too as I joined in. (BTW my partner had made a sarcastic comment to his mother about how nice it was that we couldn't get in or out the property. She later saw me and waggled her finger and I'm afraid I called her a name. This really riled him).
Then they went to see him again and he stood hurling abuse at them and at me at the top of his voice, raging. When they left he started using power tools (it was around 10.30pm) and turned the music and and continued to shout obscenities. I made the decision to pack up and go that minute and we haven't been back since. I fear for our safety.
I know that he received a letter from our freeholder telling him to remove the bike - having it there is a breach of the lease. The freeholder sent me a transcript and recording of the message Scott left with him saying he was never moving the bike. So the next letter he is due to receive tomorrow will tell him he has 48 hours to remove it or there will be a tribunal. I know this will escalate his anger. He is territorial even though he doesn't own anything as he has been there 40 years. I'm not taking my children back there but I am going back tomorrow and I am dreading it. I honestly am scared. You have to meet him to see why. I am going on holiday next week with my family and I want to set the wheels in motion for some kind of action. Please advise. Thank you!
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Thank you.

The police will not get involved with civil matters which includes the motorcycle or any disputes with regard to the use of the property.

However all the rest of it and the attitude and the slanging match and knocking on the door anti social hours and suchlike is harassment and you are entitled to protection from harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act.

Some police forces take it very seriously and others not so. If you have found that the police are not taking this particularly seriously, then make a formal complaint to the chief constable in writing. You are entitled to have this harassment stopped.

The police ultimately have the power to issue an antisocial behaviour order against the neighbour which will put him on notice that if this continues, he is liable to be prosecuted and end up in jail.

This really is a police matter and you need to press the police. Before making a formal complaint to the chief constable, you might want to speak to a more senior officer. I suggested that to a user on here a couple of days ago when the police weren’t interested in that had exactly the desired result.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Please don’t forget to rate the service positive.

It’s an important part of the process by which experts get paid.

We can still exchange emails if needed.

Best wishes.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok to clarify, rather than engaging a solicitor and getting a harassment order from the civil court, I should press the police for an antisocial behaviour order?
I will do as you suggested with the police.
I won't forget to rate the service.
Thanks for your help.
Expert:  F E Smith replied 1 year ago.

Firstly you press the police for a Protection from Harassment warning.

Then, if that doesn’t work, they get prosecuted for harassing you and if the court thinks it appropriate, they would get an antisocial behaviour order.

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