Public angry and frustrated at noisy neighbours and anti-social behaviour during lockdown

The public are getting more angry and frustrated with noisy neighbours and other anti-social behaviour during lockdown, prompting a surge in complaints.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 6:12 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 6:14 pm

The Victims' Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, told MPs there has been ‘quite a big spike’ in calls about anti-social behaviour during the coronavirus outbreak.

She has been speaking to representatives of victims' services around the country on a weekly basis to gather information on who is being affected by crime amid the pandemic.

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The Victims' Commissioner said the public is becoming angry at noisy neighbours and anti-social behaviour during lockdown

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Although the information was anecdotal and not based on data, and crime had dropped overall, ‘there were some real features emerging’, she said.

Dame Vera told the Commons Justice Committee: “There's quite a big uptake in help for dealing with anti-social behaviour.

“It looks like, if I can put it this way, people are getting more frustrated and slightly angrier at things like noise nuisance, which perhaps isn't a surprise given what's going on.

“But that is a big upturn, quite a big spike in calls about anti-social behaviour.”

Earlier this month, the National Police Chiefs' Council said reports of anti-social behaviour had risen by 59 per cent during lockdown.

There is also ‘some suggestion’ domestic abuse by older children against parents is emerging during the lockdown, Dame Vera said.

She told MPs: “So this is a newer kind of domestic abuse which is probably suggestive of kids wanting to go out and not being allowed to. We are talking teenagers.”

Regarding domestic violence, Dame Vera said: “Calls to the helplines have rocketed, complaints to the police have not gone up commensurately but complaints to victims' services clearly have.

“There are real worries about access to any help if you are locked down with the perpetrator in the next room.”

When asked about victims' experiences in court, Dame Vera said the ‘massive backlog’ of cases, particularly in Crown Courts, was ‘just going to get longer and longer’.

Dame Vera added: “There's a whole lot of confusion and chaos and the difficulty is, of course, we suspect that victims won't stick at it and they won't support if it doesn't sort itself out fairly soon, so I think it's bad for victims, I think it's bad for the system.”