Civil Dispute and possible Police harassment?!

Discussion in 'Military Discipline' started by poo_finger, Jan 22, 2012.

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  1. Heres the gen.
    I have owned the top flat in a 3 storey building for 4 years now. Until recently I have always let the property out, During this period the woman who lives in the middle flat below has repeatedly complained about my tenants and excessive noise. Knowing my tenants outside of being their landlord I know this to not be the case, the acoustics within the block of flats are rubbish, I often hear everything that is going on downstairs and no doubt vice versa.

    This April I made the desicion to move into my Flat and have now experienced this womans complaining first hand, It also transpires that the woman down stairs is shacked up with a Police officer.
    I am serving and am based on the other side of the country to where my flat is located, as such I'm not there every weekend, probably 2 weekends a month, during the period that i've been in the flat i have recieved numerous visits from the police with regards to apparent excessive noise or so I thought.
    We got in touch with the local community police officer, a very decent genuine man who is being the mediator in this affair, having had a meeting with him he produced a report of every apparent incident the police have responded to and the reasons.
    The woman downstairs has been making allegations against me of apparent threats of violence towards her, threats of damage to her property on top of the numerous complaints about noise, having never even had a face to face with this woman I actually don't know how I could have possibly threatened her.
    I understand the police have a duty to respond if allegations of threatening behaviour have been reported by another member of the public however the noise complaints, If i'm correct are not a police matter, but a civil matter to be taken up by the local council?!
    However the police respond to every call the neighbour makes and normally she will call them if i so much as fart too loudly in my property.

    Returned to work the other day to find that the police have sent a letter to my OC with regards to the apparent incidents, The letter contained an explanation of the situation and a list of the dates and times they have responded to alleged incidents at my home, considering I haven't been arrested cautioned or received a formal warning from the police regarding these then am I correct in assuming that I actually haven't done anything wrong and these accusations are just that, accusations.
    Subsequently my unit are now investigating the letter and I am being subjected to disciplinary action. Have the police overstepped the mark in their response to this?! Had I been a scaffolder/Tesco worker/etc would they have sent a letter to my employer, i very much doubt it.
    I believe the police response to this Civil matter to be too much and the letter to be derogatory to my character, and am in the process of seeking legal advice.
    Are my CoC being over zealous in their response to the letter, I have received no top cover what so ever and feel extremely let down by my unit and harassed by the police.
    Thoughts?!
     
  2. If this is true, go and see a solicitor.

    I think there might be more to this than you are letting on.
     
  3. Yes.
     
  4. I think that you are going to end up having to refute her claims of excessive noise by proving or demonstrating that you are being reasonable.


    Start by doing a "noise assessment" of your flat. Identify all the things that could make some noise in the flat below, such as fridge motors, washing machines, audio equipment, etc. Then start keeping a record of when these things run. Things like fridges, can't be considered to be unreasonable as long as it's not making excessive vibrations of course. If you can take any [reasonable] steps to reduce noise from these appliances, for example by using some extra carpet or underlay or a rug under them, then that would demonstrate that you are showing your duty of care and all that bollocks. Having a set of headphones handy [even if you don't actually use them] could show that you are being considerate. After a time you'll have loads of information to refute her claims and to discredit her. No doubt she will say you are being noisey when you are not, or when you are not even there! Obviously, if you are being a noisey bastard and doing things like running washing machines late at night, or having parties. Then bite the bullet and sort yourself out. It can also happen that noise from another flat can sound as if it is comming from above her. So she could be blaming you for someone else's noise! Hence the need to do the noise assessment.

    Normal sounds like footsteps cannot be considered unreasonable, but if you have laminated flooring instead of carpet and underlay then you aren't helping matters. There is a precedent for this. When Princess Anne re-married and they moved into their posh London flat, they had to have carpets fitted instead of wooden floors to reduce the noise for other residents.

    This might seem like a bit of trouble to have to take, but now she's started this you must take steps to conter it. Let's face it, she could end up getting you an ASBO if she's that sort of cow.


    It would help to keep a log of her complaints so you can demonstrate that she is being unreasonable too. Perhaps contact your last tennant for a statement about her being a moaning bitch etc.

    If you take these measures then you can demonstrate to your OC that the claims are false and that you are the victim of a nuisance neighbour.
     
  5. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    If you can show that you were on the otherside of the country/on exercise/on tour when you are alleged to have threatened her, then her case (such as it is) is blown out of the water.

    Just a thought.
     
  6. Taking your story on face value, if you can prove that the unit has done anything other than bin the letter from the plod, or that the plod erred in sending such a letter, sue them silly.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Mr_Fingerz

    Mr_Fingerz LE Book Reviewer

    Don't forget the usual advice that we give. See the CAB/get a brief.
     
  8. Also, as long as you are indeed innocent of these complaints, make a formal complaint direct to the Chief Constable of that county making them aware that the police officer concerned is usurping his position in order to gain unfair advantage by making or allowing to have made a complaint direct to your C of C. Quick letter to the local press wouldn't come amiss either. If criminal behaviour (Those alleged threats) is NOT being fully investigated then there is also a negligence and dereliction of duty. If, however, the police deem this to be a civil matter, they have no right being involved in investigating it even part way. Try to get an interview with coffee with your local commander. This stinks. :nod:
     
  9. Exactly the same thing happened to me when I had my flat in Woking.
    I was accused of having a loud party over an entire weekend and Woking Borough Council got quite heavy with me.
    It appeared that they took the complaint at face value and were ready to proceed against me.

    Until,

    I told them that I was in Ghent, Belgium on the weekend in question and could prove it.
    They still tried to say that the noise came from my flat and even accused me of letting it be used for that purpose on the weekend in question in my absence. I said that this was rubbish and they would have to prove it.

    The problem was the same as the OP, the stairwell acoustics carried sound but popping your head out of the front door would tell you where it was coming from.
    My neighbour didn't do any of this, she decided to try and make my life a misery but just ended up making a twat out of herself.

    Be careful with the council though, they presumed my guilt immediately and it was up to me to prove otherwise.

    No apology from them either.
     
  10. Thanks for the advice and thoughts so far guys, appreciated!
     
  11. Is it a relatively new flat, i.e. built since 2004? The onus may lie with the developer if he hasn't complied with Part E of the Building Regulations http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/uploads/br/BR_PDF_ADE_2003.pdf . Even if he has, he may still bear some responsibility.

    I was involved with some flats a few years ago that had excessive transmission of noise. Acoustic tests showed that they complied with Part E (but only just), yet occupants couldn't operate kettles, drain sinks, run washing machines or watch TV without disturbing their neighbours. They were afraid to move about because, even wearing socks, the sound transmitted into the flat below.

    The upshot was that the flats were ripped apart to install better acoustic insulation and isolate various components. It took 3 weeks per flat to get the work done, requiring the occupant to vacate for this period - the developer paid £10k to each owner (tough shit for those who were tenants) to spend on a holiday to coincide with this period.

    In terms of the noise nuisance, it was the occupants of the middle flats who were most affected. Those in the ground floor flats considered the noise levels just bearable while those in the top floor flats didn't experience much trouble (apart from having to tip-toe everywhere and put timers on washing machines to reduce the distress to those below).

    If you're in a modern, energy-efficient block of flats, contact the developer and encourage other residents to do the same.




    Just a warning, though - someone may have to stump up some cash to get an independent acoustic test done to grab the attention of the developer and it'll all fall down if all the residents don't pull their weight with regard to complaining.
     
  12. Tough one.

    You wont get any respite from her so it's worth looking at other avenues.

    My advice would be to stay in camp for a full month and engineer some tomfoolery such as having her windows done in time and time again, it works a treat and can be done again and again, have her car paint strippered/tyres slashed, a good option is to wait until the **** goes out then put the windows in and follow up with a couple of tins of gloss paint, this worked beautifully on a bloke who caused us some right arseache with the Town Planners over a planning app, obviously you'll need additional help but every time she is targetted you can be sat in a MacDonalds having a happy meal and grinning up at the CCTV..
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Occupational health have special noise level meters (calibrated and everything) is there a way of getting an official one mounted in your flat (to start with) and then hers?

    Failing that if she is accusing you of threatening her and you haven't... you need to check the dates and times. And see if you can remember/and prove that you weren't there.
     
  14. Matey,

    The police have no powers whatsoever to deal with noise coming from a private property.

    It is still a criminal matter, but dealt with by the local authority and not the police. The police go to extreme lengths to avoid getting involved in anything like this, as quite rightly they have better things to do. When they do, they normally qoute "breach of the peace", which is irrelevant. That is why I'm surprised they are involved, which suggests there is more to it or it is something to do with the police officer the woman below is seeing.

    My advice - contact environmental health at the Council, explain everything and ask them to visit you. Explain you're in the army and they'll bend over backwards to help. They wont take any action until they receive a complaint from the lady below (which could come via the police), and have evidence that you are causing a statutory nuisance. They will involve an environmental health officer witnessing the noise first hand, or via some noise monitoring equipment installed below. A police officer is not qualified to make this decision, so they are acting ultra vires by warning you, and certianly by informing your employer - it has nothing to do with them.

    The short answer is you have nothing to worry about if you're not aming any excessive noise. Note you are allowed to make noise, from reasonable use of the property.

    Tell your OC this, and consider writing to the police (someone high up or someone in complaints).
     
  15. Another 'just a thought' - who is the letter from ? - it will have a named individual (we never send letters signed 'The Police')
    What are they alleging you have done ?.
    On the occasions you were visited by the police, what was the result ?

    Speak to a solicitor - first half hour is normally free.