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Your Confidentiality Rights if Reporting a Neighbour

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 8 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Police Confidentiality Anti-social

Many people are often put off reporting a crime or any incidence of nuisance or anti-social behaviour for fear of the police or other authority not respecting their confidentiality, and the threat of reprisals.

Although there are laws in the UK which deal with a person’s rights with regards to privacy and confidentiality, when it comes to police matters, this all has to be weighed up in the context of the Data Protection Act, Human Rights Act and Freedom of Information Act, when you might be a witness to a serious crime and may be required to testify against an alleged offender in court.

General Guidelines

Most of the time, if you want to report a neighbour, it will usually be more appropriate to inform another organisation rather than the police. For example, this might be the Environmental Health Department of your local authority or your local housing association.

Whoever you wish to make a complaint to, they will generally be able to guarantee your confidentiality. In fact, local authorities, housing associations and the police are all keen to highlight their commitment to ensuring that any information they receive from the public will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

These authorities are well aware that a lack of confidentiality could prevent people from coming forward to offer them information that might be very useful in reducing crime and Anti-Social Behaviour.

Using Remote Third Parties

Because some people might be afraid to report a neighbour over a particular issue for fear of them being identified, there have been several initiatives introduced in the UK whereby a third-party agency can act as an intermediary or ‘conduit’ between you and which ever organisation you wish to notify.

Many people are simply too scared of what might happen if they walk into a police station to report something, or are worried about how it will be perceived by the rest of the neighbourhood if uniformed police officers or council officials turn up on their doorstep.

In these situations, the person reporting a complaint can do so formally, informally or even anonymously to the remote third party. They will take down all of the details from you then pass them on to the relevant authority to deal with directly so that, for example, you would not have any direct contact with the police. Alternatively, if you are worried about your confidentiality, you could always go out to a payphone and call an organisation such as ‘Crimestoppers’ anonymously.

Furthermore, all police forces and local authorities have websites these days so, unless there’s an imminent danger to safety, that might be another method you could choose to report an incident yet still maintain your confidentiality.

The important thing is to do something. The police, local authority or housing association would not want you to be wasting their time but, on the other hand, if you do encounter a serious problem which requires some kind of enforcement, it’s always far better to let the relevant authority know at the earliest opportunity before a particular problem starts to get out of hand.

Neighbourhoods can go from good to bad if left untended or if everybody turns a blind eye to criminal activity or anti-social or nuisance behaviour. So even if you report things anonymously, you can be assured that, in most cases, they will be investigated.

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[Add a Comment]
Mamet - Your Question:
This environmental services is joke. It say that if you report anonymously in most case councils will investigate. This is no true, and is loose information with no definite help. I have live many area in UK, and in some area have see problems and other neighbors say they report problems but councils use any way they can to not bother do things about problems. I have say about man who let him dog foul all on street and in people front gardens and no on lead while he outside him house fixing cars to sell on Internet (no permission or proper thing in place for do this) him whole life overflow on to other people's life. (Many olds people's in this street). But council no interest in this. I have people's tell me in before that people they are complain about can find out who is say this about them to council. I know this true, it happen to me to. I wish I had job in environment place in council. Make all day hide behind rules so not have to bother help people. People who make problem for other already know what they can get away with do. So environmental office is waste of time. No one want to help. Is just made up job to make people's think someone do something.

Our Response:
Councils will not usually investigate anonymous complaints but they are usually willing to keep details of the complainant confidential.
ProblemNeighbours - 10-Nov-17 @ 12:35 PM
This environmental services is joke. It say that if you report anonymously in most case councils will investigate. This is no true, and is loose information with no definite help. I have live many area in UK, and in some area have see problems and other neighbors say they report problems but councils use any way they can to not bother do things about problems. I have say about man who let him dog foul all on street and in people front gardens and no on lead while he outside him house fixing cars to sell on Internet (no permission or proper thing in place for do this) him whole life overflow on to other people's life. (Many olds people's in this street). But council no interest in this. I have people's tell me in before that people they are complain about can find out who is say this about them to council. I know this true, it happen to me to. I wish I had job in environment place in council. Make all day hide behind rules so not have to bother help people. People who make problem for other already know what they can get away with do. So environmental office is waste of time. No one want to help. Is just made up job to make people's think someone do something.
Mamet - 8-Nov-17 @ 11:45 AM
Hi I am writing this letter with reference to my neighbours. Well not the couple just her. She's Always complaining about my dog, if he barks I bring him straight in. There is just no reasoning with her to the point now that she has left nasty letters, also her language and attitude is disgraceful. My main concern is last bonfire night They had fireworks directly in the entry where my garden fence ends. This caused so much distress to my dog and I know it was done deliberately. I mean there is a lot of entry and no animals in other houses. I am greatly concerned this is going to happen again and am starting to feel victimised. What can I do to stop this happening again this year as my dog needs to be able to access the back garden for toileting. Please advise.
Marlene - 24-Oct-17 @ 1:52 PM
Convinced my neighbour had reported me to the authorities as unfamiliar vehicles began parking along the road.We have had many spats in the past and now don't acknowledge one another, but I seem to be the guilty party.A lady visits the neighbour (victim support possibly) as she has only recently appeared since these occurrences. Nothing has been said or any written communications sent to me, but it all seems strangely worrying on my part and my stomach is churning constantly.My husband said it would be foolish for my neighbour to take that to Court and would be too expensive.The Police wouldn't bother with it and the Magistrate or Judge would throw it out.They would no doubt tell us both to go home, apologise, shake hands and grow up.Hope this is the case as we live directly opposite each other.
Toosey - 21-Oct-17 @ 8:18 PM
good afternoon sometimes I made a complaint from my neighbor the police I live in this house 4 years I never had problems this neighbor is living for a few months and he causes my children to mouth my dog ??and I already said that he kills my older children this week I went back to do complaint this situation is unbearable I'm afraid to live in this house he invokes even with my dryer machine that makes noise help me I'm afraid of living in this house I do not hold fast with my children I live on the street surbiton road number 40 he lives in number 42 eu I want him to stay away from my family, help me, thank you.
Vanda - 20-Oct-17 @ 6:54 PM
We live in a flat. We have some issues with the next door neighbour as they put really loud music during working days sometimes weekend especially at night times. The loud music distract me and family who has to wake up in the morning to get to work, school and college early in the morning. Can you take further action. Thank you.
Taj - 5-May-17 @ 10:42 PM
My neighbour is being evicted for antisocial behaviour. The court have granted the housing association, who owns the property, a Possession Order with a warrant attached. Unfortunately my house is connected to this neighbours. Myself and my Daughter have been through a year of sheer hell. I originally raised the issue with the housing association, kept diary sheets, had noise recording equipment etc. I was left a voicemail by the housing officer yesterday saying he couldnt tell me the exact date the warrant is to be executed.Is this correct? Many thanks.
Liz - 28-Jan-17 @ 9:18 AM
Hi, I reported a person who was putting his 4yr old childs life in danger. She was riding a illegal quad bike on the road while the father and family stood there watching. I called police and they arrived 30 mins later and missed them. The father was asked tho attend the police station and give an explanation. The inspector told him that I reported him and the father turned up at my door threatening to kill me as well as setting fire to my house. He was with 3 other mates as he is a gutless drug dealer who lives in a caravan outside on a drive in my culdisac. I'm not scared of him as he is scum of the earth. Was this right to put me in such danger?
Wtf - 5-Jan-17 @ 9:37 PM
neighbour last year died other neighbour draged out, people have died like flys down our street or been taken away. Local factories release toxic fumes so the neigjbours have cough fits to announce it whilst harassing you each day. Disturbing thing is new guy next door looks like am EBA agency actor, the other like my dead relative. They have been keeping tabs on my computer which has been reported to the police through out the year.IV BEEN HARASSED THROUGH MY PHONE AND LAPTOP, BEING WATCHED AND STALKED FORMONTHS THE FBI AND BRITISH POLICE ARE NOT HELPING MUCH.My family have noticied other neighbours participtaing in this, making reference to our past we think its a harassing film or media prodiction who has been stalking us for years. These creeps next door have been accesing all my phone and laptop activity, the lunatic behind this police, actors, gov or stalkers have crossed the line of oppressive control and sociopathic stalking , who ever has been behind this should be im jail. Lost two years gang stalking computer and phone HARASSMENT
wmdy - 30-Dec-16 @ 7:22 AM
Lil - Your Question:
If someone makes complaints against you and they are untrue, even though they are ringing up housing and making anonymous complaints, which could jeopardize your tenancy is there any legal way of taking this further - ie court and making them present the said complainant to get things sorted out? or are they just left to ring up and complain to their hearts content?

Our Response:
You can make a complaint about their behaviour if it has some foundation. The best thing to do is to see a solicitor (some have the first half hour session free) or Citizens' Advice.
ProblemNeighbours - 24-Nov-16 @ 2:21 PM
If someone makes complaints against you and they are untrue, even though they are ringing up housing and making anonymous complaints, which could jeopardize your tenancy is there any legal way of taking this further - ie court and making them present the said complainant to get things sorted out? or are they just left to ring up and complain to their hearts content?
Lil - 23-Nov-16 @ 8:30 PM
I am infesteded with bed bugs due to the flat above me,they got sprayed up and my flat has been left to get seriously worse, I urged someone to do something about this ,as I am now getting delirious as me and my 6 year old boy are being bitten al night as a result we are not sleeping, I have lived in this property for 5 years ,and there has been 2 floods a burglary and all sorts of drugs in the block it is scum the blockI mean. I have a nervous disability, and no one is giving me any support . Please help me as I can't take no more. My housing association is doing nothing about this matter. They are actually bullying me can't take nomore I am on the verge.
Gg - 26-Oct-16 @ 1:10 PM
Pat - Your Question:
I have my neighbours are married couple at first the man used to be like my friend we used to talk until he start getting different thoughts and he told me if I have time we can go out then I told him that if am ready I will let you know but from that day I tried to limit my self from him because even his wife I used to greet her but sometime she didn't reply till I stopped. The problem now I am facing both of them whenever their coming in or going out they bang their house door and it make the whole house to vibrate. and what makes me angry even at night they didn't bother whether other people are sleeping or not.one day I spoke to house taker to speak to them they stop for few days and continue and the problem I have whenever they bang their door heavily my heart was racing and cant go back to sleep, getting headache and worried and I don't know what to do a bit confused, scared to talk to them I really need a help. What can I do

Our Response:
Your landlord should be able to help if this is such a problem. Are there any measures that the landlord could take to minimise the noise from the doors closing perhaps? Unless this occurs very late into the night/early mornings, it's unlikely that enviromental health would be able to help.
ProblemNeighbours - 27-Sep-16 @ 11:03 AM
I have my neighbours are married couple at first the man used to be like my friend we used to talk until he start getting different thoughts and he told me if I have time we can go out then I told him that if am ready I will let you know but from that day I tried to limit my self from him because even his wife I used to greet her but sometime she didn't reply till I stopped. The problem now I am facing both of them whenever their coming in or going out they bang their house door and it make the whole house to vibrate. and what makes me angry even at night they didn't bother whether other people are sleeping or not.one day I spoke to house taker to speak to them they stop for few days and continue and the problem I have whenever they bang their door heavily my heart was racing and cant go back to sleep, getting headache and worried and I don't know what to do a bit confused, scared to talk to them I really need a help. What can I do
Pat - 25-Sep-16 @ 10:59 PM
To anyone seeing this: DO NOT CALL THE POLICE FOR ANYTHING They are trying to charge me with "wasting police time" because I have not given them a statment regarding my current situation, they have never asked me for a statment. I have two numbers and an email address but apparently I am uncontactable and they know my address. I had issues with a previous neighbour which nothing ever happened and they are seeing this as me wasting poice time and making up reports because THEY choose not to do anything about my complaints. image that, I went ot them as a victim and all they have done is research me and pass on my details to third parties this is insane just dont call them for anything please
lea - 15-Sep-16 @ 11:55 AM
We lived in the hostel with my 2 kids 5years and 2years My neighbour kids don't want to stop harassing my kids and bullying them verballing I spoke to the Mum end up with fight They Mother report me but I don't know what to do
D.kante - 22-Aug-16 @ 7:57 AM
My partner has recently received a call from the council saying a complaint has been made about me and my partner fighting out in the street. Also our kids supposedly witnessed what had happened now we are being investigated through there doctors and school. I understand the importance of them following things up such as this because of cases where it is true but it has either been miss reported or it is a completely false claim. Who can I speak to about the matter?
J - 26-Jul-16 @ 3:03 PM
do I have a legal right to leave a fixed short term tenancy agreement if the neighbours upstairs constantly smoke cannabis and smoke in general that blow into our flat all the time and most worringly into my 12 year old daughters bedroom?
happy - 21-Jul-16 @ 9:30 AM
Cindryx - Your Question:
A while ago my neighbour rang my housing manager to complain about some antisocial behaviour from other neighbour kids. The housing manager came to speak with me as it involved my gas meter, so I spoke with him and told him everything. Next he sent a formal warning letter to the antisocial neighbour stating that I was the one who complained and he put a detailed explanation of everything I said. I contacted the manager and told him that he has put me and my two young kids in danger. He should have asked my permission before doing something like this seeing that I wasn't the one who phoned him in the 1st place. He has since written to the anti social neighbour stating that I have removed my complaint hence the formal warning was removed. I since live in fear of their intimidating look. What can I do?

Our Response:
Complain to the housing manager - if they were investigating a complaint made by someone else, then your name should not have been mentioned.
ProblemNeighbours - 6-Jul-16 @ 2:12 PM
A while ago my neighbour rang my housing manager to complain about some antisocial behaviour from other neighbour kids. The housing manager came to speak with me as it involved my gas meter, so i spoke with him and told him everything. Next he sent a formal warning letter to the antisocial neighbour stating that I was the one who complained and he put a detailed explanation of everything i said. I contacted the manager and told him that he has put me and my two young kids in danger. He should have asked my permission before doing something like this seeing that i wasn't the one who phoned him in the 1st place. He has since written to the anti social neighbour stating that i have removed my complaint hence the formal warning was removed. I since live in fear of their intimidating look. What can i do?
Cindryx - 5-Jul-16 @ 11:04 PM
ClaireLou - Your Question:
A friend of mine is feeling a bit intimidated by the landlord and other neighbours. She held 2 children's parties in May (both finshed by 8), where she had bouncy castles. She lives in a block of flats and both times a neighbour has put in a complaint because of the noise (apparently children aren't allowed to be happy in her block). Apparently, at the 2nd one we were all drunk and doing drugs, which unless her 3 year old is a dealer, this is not the case. Also, the only block of flats on the whole estate to have received this letter, is my friends but the whole estate is owned by the same landlord. They requested that any and all parties are to have permission from the landlord (just the one block, remember) and yet none of the other blocks need to obtain permission. This to me feels like the housing officer has taken a personal dislike to my friend (not the first time this has happened with this housing officer) and I just want to know what she can do about it. She's contacted her landlord but it appears that they will do nothing. I've also told her to contact Citizen's Advice, to see if they can help. Is there anything that she can do in the meantime?

Our Response:
Just ask for permission to hold a party next time?
ProblemNeighbours - 8-Jun-16 @ 2:33 PM
A friend of mine is feeling a bit intimidated by the landlord and other neighbours.She held 2 children's parties in May (both finshed by 8), where she had bouncy castles.She lives in a block of flats and both times a neighbour has put in a complaint because of the noise (apparently children aren't allowed to be happy in her block).Apparently, at the 2nd one we were all drunk and doing drugs, which unless her 3 year old is a dealer, this is not the case.Also, the only block of flats on the whole estate to have received this letter, is my friends but the whole estate is owned by the same landlord.They requested that any and all parties are to have permission from the landlord (just the one block, remember) and yet none of the other blocks need to obtain permission.This to me feels like the housing officer has taken a personal dislike to my friend (not the first time this has happened with this housing officer) and I just want to know what she can do about it.She's contacted her landlord but it appears that they will do nothing.I've also told her to contact Citizen's Advice, to see if they can help.Is there anything that she can do in the meantime?
ClaireLou - 7-Jun-16 @ 12:52 PM
Newly moved into new house, nice residential road with typically respectful neighbors. The neighbor on our right has been playing ridiculously loud techno music - to where the bass vibrates our home all of yesterday day throughout a BBQ event, right through to 2:30am. The party continued all day today (Sunday!) from 3pm and is still at large currently. This has been repeated on numerous occasions and is restricting sleep, the use of our garden and general happiness in our home. We can not afford to move again however need it to desperately stop. How can we report in confidence?
Noiseee - 30-May-16 @ 1:01 AM
Iam having some serious problems with 4 people that does not belong in the new neighboor hood that iam now residing there are 4 people living in 993 dorcas terrace illegally and iam being constantly harrassed by these people and i would like to know how could you assist me pertaining to my situation my # is 267 333 7171 thank you
Pudding - 11-May-16 @ 3:56 PM
When I say to chat to me, I meant environmental health themselves. Like do they come to your home to go over your complaint?
Leighliee - 5-Apr-16 @ 1:44 PM
If I wanted to make a complaint about my neighbours leaving rubbish at front of the property, would I be able to contact environmental health, and it remain anonymous? Would they ever, in any circumstances, come to my house to chat to me???
Leighliee - 5-Apr-16 @ 1:42 PM
Can the police give my mobile number to someone I have complained about.
george93 - 3-Apr-16 @ 1:19 AM
Gardner - Your Question:
My neighbours are revving there motorbikes and laughing about it and when I complained to them they told me where to go and animated that I would be dealt with.Im now a little worried. And the neighbours are scared to report it.

Our Response:
if you think these threats are serious your should report them to the police. If the bikes are being revved for a long period of time on a daily basis, your environmental health office is the place to make a complaint.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Mar-16 @ 12:51 PM
Ice - Your Question:
What can I do about cctv on a neighbours house. 4 cameras in fact. At least 2 filming outside of the front garden boundaries. It also films on a pavement a road and the opposite pavement No signs saying filming in progress.

Our Response:
Your local police will come and check on these to assess whether anyone's privacy is being impeded.
ProblemNeighbours - 29-Mar-16 @ 11:42 AM
My neighbours are revving there motorbikes and laughing about it and when I complained to them they told me where to go and animated that i would be dealt with. Im now a little worried. And the neighbours are scared to report it.
Gardner - 27-Mar-16 @ 4:38 AM
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