Proactive approach to prevent problem parties
Leeds’ anti-social behaviour team are visiting hundreds of addresses to stop large parties getting out of hand.
The proactive approach has seen council and police officers patrolling streets providing advice and guidance to potential revellers so they can keep their neighbours on their good side.
Events with DJs, live bands, professional sound equipment and bouncers in homes are on the increase. Combined with excessive drinking, the parties have the potential to cause disruption and increasing complaints to the police and council.
Most recently, the team have been focusing their efforts in Headingley and Hyde Park, making over 120 visits in the last month in a bid to nip any potential disturbance in the bud and avoid repeat complaints.
The residential areas are home to a mixture of families, elderly residents and students but evidence shows that parties being organised on a grand scale are causing real concerns for long-term residents.
The patrols by the anti-social behaviour team are in response to these concerns and aimed at making sure people understand their responsibilities.
This weekend officers stepped in after residents received notification of a party due to take place between 10pm and 6am.
With over 200 people invited to the residential property, reports of security being brought in and noise from live DJ sets alarmed local people.
Although the party organisers had done the right thing in notifying neighbours, they acknowledged they had not fully assessed all the implications.
Party organisers were receptive to the advice of the anti-social behaviour team and partners and scaled back the party to a smaller, informal gathering.
In such scenarios, officers can issue a section 80 abatement notice – a legal notice that can be served when officers believe a statutory nuisance has or is likely to occur. The notice means any noise has to be stopped immediately and breaching the notice can result in prosecution and a fine of up to £5,000. Alternatively, the team can apply to the magistrates court to seize sound systems, speakers, decks and other equipment that causes the noise nuisance.
Around 100 of these notices have been served in the last month in the Headingley and Hyde Park areas.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for cleaner, stronger and safer communities, said:
“We’re not setting out to be party poopers. We’re trying to achieve a balance where people can enjoy themselves without having a negative effect or causing a major disturbance in residential communities.
“The anti-social behaviour team are seeing an increasing trend for large, organised parties which, in the right location, we have absolutely no issue with. But when set to take place in the middle of a residential street we need people to know that despite their best intentions, things may quickly get out of their control.
“If we can help people with advice which allows them to make informed choices then communities are more content and we can stop a real drain on resources.”
Section 80 abatement notices are served on all tenants in a property as they are equally responsible for the occurrence and abatement of the noise.
Information residents need to know about noise nuisance:
Statutory noise nuisance is investigated by Leeds City Council. It is a criminal offence which could result in a criminal record and a £5,000 fine.
Authorised officers can obtain a court warrant to enter premises and seize noise making equipment. This can include hi-fi equipment, docking stations, laptops, televisions, musical instruments, amplifiers etc.
Noise can be a statutory nuisance at any time, day or night, but the hours between 11pm and 8am are particularly noise sensitive.
Most complaints occur after 10pm, the result of people being woken or stopped from sleeping. Please be more aware during these times and be respectful to nearby residents.
Residents are held responsible for the behaviour of their guests and visitors
All residents in shared households are equally responsible for the prevention of noise so action can be taken against all tenants in the property even if it just one person causing the noise.
Tips to prevent complaints:
Get to know your neighbours. If they work or have young children, you will have to be more considerate of their needs. Young children tend to go to bed earlier and require more sleep. Working people are more likely to be affected by midweek noise, however regular weekly late-night disturbance (even on weekends) is likely to result in complaints.
Speak to your neighbours if you are thinking of holding a party and negotiate a time which it will continue until. Offer them your mobile number so that they can contact you if noise levels become inconsiderate and if they do call you, react positively.
Where speakers are situated can make a huge difference to the transfer of noise between properties. Try to keep speakers and televisions off the floor and away from adjoining party walls. If possible place speakers on rubber stands/matting which will help absorb any vibration.
If you play a musical instrument and want to practice, discuss it with your neighbours and negotiate set practice times if possible and stick to them.
Do not advertise parties or gatherings on social media even in a closed group - word gets around and this is how parties get out of hand.
Keep your party under control –do not invite hundreds of people and have a plan for what you’ll do if it does get out of control.
Keep doors and windows closed at all times.
Keep partygoers inside the property at all times.
Keep the music at a reasonable volume – see whether it can be heard from outside and from inside neighbouring properties.
If you do get a visit from the police or the council’s out of hours service, remain calm and civil and do as they ask.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577