Addressing anti-social behaviour (ASB) and neighbourhood disputes are amongst the most challenging areas of work for housing associations and police. Between December 2015 and November 2016 there were 59,653 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour across Northern Ireland.
To help tackle ASB, the Northern Ireland Federation of Housing Associations (NIFHA) and the PSNI have now agreed formal arrangements for the sharing of relevant information between housing associations and the police service.
Fourteen housing associations who collectively manage over 33,700 properties across Northern Ireland have signed a binding agreement that provides a framework to enhance existing working relationships.
Housing associations will be able to request relevant information from the Police Service to verify recorded cases of ASB in the neighbourhoods in which they operate. This will better enable coordinated action against offenders and for appropriate support to be provided to victims.
PSNI Superintendent Ryan Henderson said: “It is widely recognised that any effort to tackle issues related to anti-social behaviour requires a collaborative approach from a range of partners. A lot of work has gone into preparing this information sharing protocol and we are confident that this process will allow us to be more joined up in how we assist people who are victims of anti-social behaviour and be more focused on how we manage offenders.”
Cameron Watt, Chief Executive, NIFHA said “Anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood disputes blight the lives of too many communities across Northern Ireland. Through this exciting new partnership, housing associations and the PSNI can more closely align their work to quickly and effectively address problems as they arise. We are confident that many tenants and communities will benefit from the swifter, more co-ordinated responses to problems that this agreement will facilitate. Everyone wins.”
The information sharing agreement ensures that participating organisations only share information that is relevant and proportionate based on the merits of each case. This information can only be used for the purpose for which it was requested and will not be shared with any other party outside the participating organisations.