Police secure closure of Birmingham property after over a year of anti-social behaviour
Police in Birmingham have secured the closure of an exempt property in Stockland Green after more than a year of local residents enduring anti-social behaviour and noise.
It comes after West Midlands Police worked for months with the people living in the terraced house in Hermitage Road as well as the housing provider who runs the accommodation, to try to resolve the issues.
But between May 2021 and March 2022, the force received at least 35 calls from local residents, reporting a catalogue of distressing and upsetting incidents.
They ranged from spitting, loud arguing and shouting to excessive noise, smoking cannabis and thefts from gardens.
In June last year, the trouble escalated when officers arrested two people after being called to a violent incident inside the property during which threats were made with knives.
Despite extensive work by officers on their local Erdington team, the issues remained so West Midlands Police, along with support from Birmingham City Council, sought the closure order to prevent any further anti-social behaviour and to safeguard the local community.
The closure order, which was granted on Monday (4 April) at Birmingham Magistrates Court, came into effect immediately and will last for three months.
Police officials have said, “The three residents living in the property were given notice of the closure and offered support and advice on finding alternative housing from trusted housing providers as well as with their current housing provider.”
Inspector Rachel Darby, from the Erdington neighbourhood team, added: “We’ve been in regular contact with residents in the area for many months and understand just how badly this anti-social behaviour has impacted on their lives.
“We also worked extensively with the residents at the property and the housing provider to try and resolve the situation, before taking the step of going to court.
“Exempt properties are often home to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities, and so we’ve been ensuring that those who were living at the house are now provided with suitable alternative accommodation and support.
“It is important that the often complex needs of those living in exempt properties are met by housing providers, so our ongoing work with them also continues.”
Guy Chaundy, Housing Modernisation and Partnership Manager for Birmingham City Council said: “While there are some good providers of exempt or supported housing, due to the lack of regulation of the sector there are also providers who fall well short of providing the type of housing and support that is needed.
“We are working with government, providers and the police to better regulate the sector including greater enforcement powers so that properties like this one in Stockland Green can be closed down more quickly and easily.”
In a statement from West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Foster, he said: “Exempt housing is supposed to offer a safe place to live and provide extra support for those that need our help most.
“In reality, vulnerable tenants have too often been abandoned and neglected as they rapidly realise that support is non-existent and they are at serious risk of becoming victims of crime and criminal exploitation.
“West Midlands Police are working closely with the council on this issue, but it is clear that the government needs to provide a regulatory regime that is fit for purpose as a matter of urgency.”