Case study 23: Non-Muslim lady under siege from Muslim family is targeted by CPN

A single older non-Muslim lady has entered into a dispute with a large Muslim family of council tenants that live next door. The woman says that she experienced harassment, abuse, threats and sexual gestures from the neighbours for several years. She complained to the council about the harassment and noise from the neighbours.

When council officers came around, they immediately took the side of her neighbours. She says that the council and police officers are all Muslim, and that they have told her to stop making complaints about the neighbours because ‘they are my religion’. She says that council and police officers only come to her door to shout and threaten her; they do not listen to her side of events. They spend a long time in the neighbours’ flat and take all their allegations at face value. Instead of stopping the neighbours’ behaviour, safer neighbourhood and police officers defend them and threaten the woman to get her to stop making complaints.

The neighbours’, council and police’s actions have caused the woman health issues, including stress, distress and sleep issues, which have affected her quality of life, health, relationships, work and daily tasks amongst others. The neighbours also targeted her relatives and friends who helped her, and caused them the same issues.

The neighbours constantly take films of the lady and send them into the council. The lady was unable to take her own films, because of her lack of technical ability; and when her relative helped her with the technology, the council refused to give her an address to send her videos, while continuing to receive videos from the neighbours. She found out that her neighbours had also been sending videos of her on public social media platforms to council officers and the safer neighbourhood/police.

The lady said that after the CPW was issued, her neighbours’ behaviour became worse, including also targeting relatives. The neighbours told her that the council and police are ‘on our side’. They also threatened her, saying that they were going to kill and attack her. They stalked, followed her, shouted, screamed, swore and threatened her. They encouraged others to harass and slander her, telling them that she lives by herself, and shouted her address out in public. In other incidents, they have screamed obscenities, and made sexual and physical threats.

However, the council and the safer neighbourhood police ignored all this; they even failed to get CCTV evidence from the public CCTV cameras that recorded one serious incident, as well from a local independent organisation that had CCTV installed and had agreed to give the evidence over to authorities. The police and council also failed to get key eye witness statements, despite having been provided with all the details.

The woman believes that this failure to investigate again shows clear bias, improper conduct, corruption, and religious discrimination.

The lady says that the council focused on petty issues as basis for issuing a CPN, while ignoring the more serious actions committed by her neighbours. For example, in one case, the neighbours threw bags of rubbish over the wall into the lady’s garden, which had been happening for a year. At the end of her tether, the lady threw one tissue back; the neighbours videoed this act. This evidence was used by the council to justify issuing a CPN.

When the lady complains, council and police officers tell her to stop making false allegations, and the police issued her with a Penalty Notice for Disorder for making false allegations. The lady says that actually it is the other way round – her reports were true, and her neighbours are the ones making false allegations, and the council and police are protecting them.

The lady says:

‘The police were aggressive and insulting, they wouldn’t listen. Six of them barged in against one elderly lady and even searched my property and opened my mail without a warrant, to get all my relatives’ details and addresses. They try to turn me into the perpetrator and my neighbours into victims, when I’m alone and there’s so many of them so it wouldn’t even make sense.’

She believes that the council officers are taking the side of her Muslim neighbours because they share the same religion, and are biased against those from other religions. This means that there is a fundamental bias and lack of equality before the law.