Barnabas gets tough to tackle anti-social behaviour

Tough new policies have been adopted by Morpeth charity Barnabas Safe and Sound to crackdown on unruly behaviour.

The supported housing scheme has introduced a series of new procedures following complaints about anti-social behaviour at its house in Oldgate.

We have residents in other properties who are fantastic neighbours and we have made real progress with some young people over the years.

Chris Menzies, Barnabas Safe and Sound Chief Executive

They include limiting the number of visitors permitted at the four-bed property from two per resident to a maximum of four at any one time, setting a 10pm curfew for visitors to leave by, and only allowing a maximum of one overnight guest by prior approval.

In addition, a zero-tolerance policy on smoking has been adopted. Barnabas Chief Executive Chris Menzies said: “We have tried to look at key issues that were being complained about, in particular people smoking out of windows, whether tobacco or drugs. We had a policy previously where if we found somebody smoking we would give them a warning, then a second and final warning, and then 28 days’ notice to leave.

“As a result of the problems we were asked to consider a zero-tolerance policy on smoking, where we would give 28 days’ notice for one incident. We agreed to that and as a result three residents have been given notice and one has got a summary eviction, which shows that we are serious. It also shows that residents haven’t changed their behaviour, but new residents coming in will be told that the previous residents lost their place as a result of smoking.”

New tenants will also be visited by police to remind them of their neighbourly responsibilities.

And CCTV upgrades will be installed to enable Barnabas staff to check that the house rules are being adhered to.

Mr Menzies urged neighbours to report any problems as soon as they arise, and he will publish a summary of all complaints received by the charity, and its responses, on the Barnabas website.

“We want to try to get a sense of proportion as to when we are informed and what we do about it,” he said. “We have residents in other properties who are fantastic neighbours and we have made real progress with some young people over the years.”