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Police??

Discussion in 'Backyard BBQ' started by Callaidyn, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Callaidyn

    Callaidyn New Elf

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    Hi Everyone!
    As some of you know it is my first year automating to music (only ever having played music in the background) and I've hit my first real snag (and it's not electronics/electricity related)! I have a grinch in the neighbourhood that only moved in six months ago so has never seen my lights before! The first night I went live (last Wednesday) he put the sprinklers on me. He came over knocking two nights in a row asking me to turn the lights off. He complained to the council and they sent someone around who deemed the lights not to be offensive and as I turn them off at 10pm every night said I was well within my legal rights. My problem is not the noise from my speakers - it's people pulling up and turning the radio up loudly. Tonight the police visited me just before 10pm and said that they can take away my speakers, amplifier, computer and transmitter if they get another complaint from my "friendly" neighbour. I'm not sure of my rights or what I should do - any advice? I haven't even managed to take a video yet and it looks like I will be effectively shut down from tomorrow night :-( Help??
     
  2. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Callaidyn

    if I was you I would speak to the police in the morning and ask them if that is right? it does not sound right.

    if it was me I would just not use outside speakers and just use your fm transmitter. then how can they stop you it is the people in the cars that are controlling the music. and if they do get a bit loud you can always turn off the transmitter till they leave.
     
  3. ecbailey

    ecbailey Full Time Elf

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    I'd suggest they can't seize your property on the grounds of a noise complaint.... I mean if the issue is car radios being too loud it's not your fault... they could turn on any station!

    I think police are trying to scare you to avoid properly dealing with whining neighbour?
     
  4. SmartAlecLights

    SmartAlecLights Im a SmartAlec what can i say! Community Project Designer

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    if the excess noise is'nt comming from your display then it is'nt your problem..
    I have a neighbour that does the sub bass for 30mins a day, an cops said "unless they hear it themself as loud an excess it aint there problem, an they cant legaly do anything"
    But Certain cops will try an be pushie, just video record it, an say is this your views or the views of the police force.
    the last thing cops want is to become grinchs themelf's
    but they are the police an need to follow all calls made to them.. (offer them a coffee an watch the light show with them) you can allways turn these things around to your benifit..

    (eg, by neighbour gets the sub-bass from all the cars. an they cant do anything about it legaly)
     
  5. BradsXmasLights

    BradsXmasLights WiFi Interactive

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    I just stand out the front all night and supervise mine. Most 'Red P platers' are happy to comply after a friendly Hi what do you think? <no pause> Hey can you I get you to turn it down so my neighbours don't hate me?'.

    All have complied so far, except for one guy who didn't turn it down that much. So then I just turned the volume on my FM transmitter down [​IMG]

    Wear a fluro vest too, as you'll psychologically appear more authoritive / official then. And you probably won't get run over from people not watching the actual road.
     
  6. Archades

    Archades New Elf

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    Ask them to cite exactly which laws are broken and what laws allow them to take it. They're probably trying scare tactics.
     
  7. OP
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    Callaidyn

    Callaidyn New Elf

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    It is rather insulting - the police would not come to my house last year when my lights were vandalized but come around this year when a neighbor complains about the noise from the traffic. I was too irate/upset to go and listen to what they said to the neighbor. I asked the police if they thought it was offensive and they said no but obviously the neighbors find it offensive so they have to investigate the complaint and advise me of what they will do next time they are called out. Thanks for the advice - I might ring the police station tomorrow.
     
  8. lithgowlights

    lithgowlights Senior Elf

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    and I would follow up that call with one to the radio stations and papers as public support can help a lot. Dont be nasty, state the facts and see where it heads
     
  9. Benschristmaslights

    Benschristmaslights Dedicated Elf Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    very good point ll

    papers would love a Mr Grinch story
     
  10. Baf05

    Baf05 Full Time Elf

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    Ok so first things first, ecbailey, you just plain wrong, Police do have the authority to seize equipment considered to be responsible for the noise.

    Note the word “equipment”. That could very well include the speakers, the transmitter, AND the computer…

    I would suggest that most police would be very loath to do this, especially for a Christmas display, but it would not be beyond the realms of possibility.

    Contra to popular belief police do tend to use “scare tactics” in this day and age, with the internet and legislation readily available, the public know what can and can’t be done.

    Trying to bully people into complying with the law is usually a one way ticket to an interview with whatever professional standards group looks after that particular states police. (And believe me no police officer wants that.)

    Callaidyn, I was not there yesterday, and I am not pointing a finger at either side, however I will offer some advice when dealing with police, (not all police, there are bad eggs in every bunch, and you can just never win with them, take it from me, other police hate them just as much as you do)….

    When dealing with police, be polite and accommodating, (to a point), try to be objective (they are), look at what they are saying from their point of view (they are looking from your point too as well as your neighbours), never argue, (nothing annoys a police officer more than a crappy noise complaint), so arguing with them over last year’s refusal to attend, that they would probably know nothing about, is only going to see them dig their heals in.

    I agree with Alec, offer them coffee, show them your display, explain how the transmitter works, be a great host, I bet you find that once they know how it all works, the times its going to be on, your problems will go away, (well from a policing point of view anyway) sounds like your neighbour is going to be an issue though.

    So here is some advice on that, really, really, REALLY, try to sort this out amicably, you will live next to that person for a long time, getting along is in everybody’s best interest. Neighbourhood disputes are a mine filed for police and all concerned!

    Anyway, good luck, happy to offer any other advice if you need it, PM me if needed. J
     
  11. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    This is an issue I had to deal with last year, after the first call I then went to every house in the street and got them to sign a petition in favour of the lights and then had a map of the location of each signiture. When the police turned up again I was armed with the evidence that it was someone not even in the street.

    I was told by the police that they have to turn up with every call, but remember police are community minded people and in most cases will favour the person with the display unless it is breaking any obvious rules in which case they have to act. In fact i had many police turn up but mainly just to see the lights as the word had got out around the station.

    The advice that Baf gives you is great and how i dealt with the police, dont use confrontation, but use kindness and understanding and keep the discussion on that you are doing the community a service and work with the officers community spirit because as Baf has explained they will use scare tactics all youi can use in response is what you are doing for the community, keep reminding them about the effects your display has on the wider community as thats what will make the police side with you.

    In the end what you are doing is great for the community spirit, the police are comminty people, so dont work against them, show that you are willing to make some compromises to improve the situation. But every time there is a complaint they will turn up, and im sure your neighbour will complain again. But use the communtiy angle and you will gain more support. It worked for me.
     
  12. OP
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    Callaidyn

    Callaidyn New Elf

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    Thanks guys - I didn't say anything to the Police about last year's refusal to attend - I know better than to antagonise them. I did say that the council had already completed a spot check on the lights after the neighbour had complained to council and they had given me a letter stating that they did not find the lights to be offensive and I was able to have them on until 10pm during the week and 12pm on weekends and before public holidays. I asked them if they wanted me to get the letter for them and they were very derogatory about the council saying that they had no idea what they were talking about and it started to sound like they were in a HoHoHoing contest with the council (i.e. "we have more powers than they do"). I rang the police info line after the comments last night and they were more helpful - they said that we were actually doing the right thing by broadcasting so that the music did not have to be up loud in the neighbourhood and that the police would have to do something about those creating the loud noise (i.e. the car drivers turning their radios up and not us if it came down to it) and it was a long process for the police to be able to seize any equipment. They said that the "reasonableness" test would apply and it sounded like we were doing everything reasonable to comply with the law. I am however off to see a solicitor today to confirm my legal standing (or otherwise) and I'll be sure to let you guys know what they say - oh the joys of Christmas [​IMG]
     
  13. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    When it gets you down just walk outside and see the joy you are bringing to thiose in your community. There are always grinches in every neighbourhood and is something that many of us have to deal with.

    Dont get angry, just be smart, let the grinch sit in his cave getting all angry because in the end people like this are 1/2 empty glass people that always complain and winge and think the world is there for them only, seems like he is an ureasonable man and looks like trouble with him would have been coming your way eventually anyway. So stay within the rules and there is nothing he can do as it would be a very brave person to come and shut down the show because thats when you goto the media and most people dont want to be seen as grinches, especially those that work in the public sector.

    I just feel sorry for these people that never seemed to have had a childhood, just dont let them get you down because you will find the vast majority of the community are 100% behind you.
     
  14. MarcD

    MarcD Full Time Elf

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    These situations are always tricky. Fact is, this guy has probably already decided he hates you and nothing is going to change his mind. People like that generally can't be reasoned with. Once they've made their mind up, you won't change it. You can however, beat him (not physically) into resignation with logic.

    Explain that you have been doing the lights for years and there has never been any complaints from neighbours. You had no reason to assume that he would have an issue. Tell him that while you don't understand his concerns, you would like to and will aim to comply. There may actually be some underlying issue that you don't know about. Tell him that you have decided, as a concession to his concerns, to not play music through speakers any more and that people could only hear the music through their car stereos, which you have no control over. Tell him to speak to the police to see if they would be willing to hang around and monitor noise levels from cars, because it's not something you can do.

    Then tell him that you have been doing lights for years and have developed quite a reputation. Details of your lights are probably all over the internet and once something goes on the internet, it can't be removed. Say that there is no way to find all the references to your lights on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, the web etc. Even if you turned off your lights, the cars would keep coming and would probably be more of a problem.

    Then tell him that you'd prefer to work things out amicably.
     
  15. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    This is a very good point as I dont have a show this year but am still seeing 50+ cars a night passing by in a street that would lucky to have 50 cars go down it in a week and there is still some traffic issues, but im not out there managing it this year so it it what it is.
     

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