Antisocial behaviour spreading through Waltham Forest like ‘plague,’ say residents

Antisocial behaviour is becoming a “plague” on Waltham Forest, concerned residents say.

Residents have told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) that they have been left feeling as though Waltham Forest Council “doesn’t care about decent tenants,” with problems going “ignored”.

Antisocial behaviour, often shortened to ASB, can comprise people being rowdy or aggressive in public, neighbours causing a nuisance, or large groups acting disorderly.

Waltham Forest was the worst in London for antisocial behaviour in October 2023, with 891 crimes reported over 31 days, according to open-source police data compiled by CrimeRate.

One resident of Northwood Tower in Wood Street, who did not wish to be named, said he had suffered from antisocial behaviour for more than ten years.

He told the LDRS that he can’t open his windows as all he will hear is “shouting, swearing and fighting”.

He said: “If you have guests or family over, you have to make sure the windows are shut.

“Antisocial behaviour is going through Walthamstow like a plague.

“We just want a peaceful life. Everyone does – but we’ve not had one in more than a decade now.”

He added that his wife regularly needs to wear headphones in order to hear the television.

Having moved into his flat 14 years ago, he said he made several reports to both Waltham Forest Council about the issue.

He added: “If you ignore a hole in the wall, it gets bigger and costs more to replace. It’s the same thing with behaviour like this – how long will it be until someone is hurt?”

Ahsan Khan, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing and regeneration, said the authority takes every report seriously and investigates each “thoroughly”.

He said the council had received “a number of reports” about ASB in and around Northwood Tower and had taken enforcement action.

Cllr Khan told the LDRS: “After investigating these reports, in line with our anti-social behaviour policy and procedures, we have taken several enforcement actions.

“These include an acceptable behaviour contract that if breached may result in a community protection notice.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely. We urge residents who experience ASB to let us know so that we can gather evidence and act where it is necessary.”

Community protection notices – previously known as antisocial behaviour orders, or ASBOs – are issued by courts to people who are responsible for repeated anti-social behaviour. Not adhering to a notice could result in fines or imprisonment.

Cllr Khan added: “Ensuring that our residents are safe, comfortable, and secure in their homes is a top priority for the council.

“We take all reports of anti-social behaviour seriously and investigate them thoroughly and impartially. We want residents to be able to enjoy their homes in peace and have a good quality of life.”

In recent months, the council has been tackling antisocial offences across the borough, working alongside officers from the Metropolitan Police.

A major crackdown on drug crime in Leyton has seen 71 people arrested, 101 antisocial behaviour warnings issued, and seven premises associated with drugs closed.

Antisocial behaviour can be reported to Waltham Forest Council directly via its website.

Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter