Aibu to complain to the police?(49 Posts)
Sorry this is a long one!
My 76yr old mother lives next door to a 85yr old lady. My mum knows her daughter and suggested the house next door to her when the daughter was searching for a house for my mum. The old lady had moved due to problem neighbours. Initially, for the first few years, my mum got on well with the lady, she often took her out, had her round, introduced her to her friends. Then one day my mum got her washing in for her because it was raining and the old lady went bonkers at her, saying my mum had always had a problem with her washing and she poured out a long list of reasons why she hated my mum. My mum had teased her about how much washing she did (sheets every other day!) but only in good spirit. My mum was very upset she'd hurt her, and tried several times to apologise, put cards through her door etc, but the lady has completely ignored her and blanked her ever since. Then the old lady started calling the police on my mum about anything and everything. If my mum touched her fence (the fence between their houses) or stepped near her front gate. The police always come out, say it's not illegal to touch her fence, but to try not to and try to keep the peace. The old lady has cctv, and if my mum touches the fence (e.g. When weeding her garden) she comes out dancing and saying "I've got you now, you're going to get what's coming to you" then rings the police. She has also called the police out a few times for her other neighbour. But the police always come out, even though nothing is ever illegal. I was there last time they came and asked them if it was even a police matter, and they said no it's a civil matter really. They're very nice with my mum, but it still upsets her and she's had to go to the doctors for help sleeping, she was so upset. It always happens in summer, and today the police rang my mum again to say she's complained about her touching the fence again. I've had enough, and although the police are lovely I feel like complaining as them coming round only serves to make the old lady do it more as she probably thinks they're telling my mum off. Aibu to think they should be telling the old lady to stop and in doing so stop encouraging her?
Any advice welcome. If it were up to me I'd put up a 6' solid fence alongside the 3' railings that are currently there, to screen her from the lady, but my mum thinks it would be ugly and doesn't want to block the lady's light.
The police should be warning your mums neighbor about wasting police time. I'm surprised that they even turn up given that they no longer respond to burglaries etc..
It sounds quite possible that your mothers neighbour is suffering from dementia.
The complaints do sound ridiculous and they're obviously upsetting your poor Mum
If I were you I'd definitely go to the police and see what can be done as this surely is harassment.
I don't think it is dementia (my mil has it) as the lady remembers everything mum has ever said or done. It's more like OCD.
Last time, when I was there, the police said the lady had told them she had no near relatives, when her daughter lives in the next village. My mum gave them her daughter's no and the police said they'd ring her, but they never did. In my opinion the police should be sending social services round or something. The daughter doesn't seem to want to discuss it with my mum.
I said to my mum that I wanted to complain to the police about them indulging the old lady, and she doesn't want me to as the police lady is lovely (she is, and is on first name terms with my mum by now), but something needs saying. As someone else said, there are hardly any police around for serious things (I had my stables broken into a couple of years ago and nobody came out) yet they come out for silliness like this.
Ugly or not, I'd have that wooden fence up as soon as possible.
Can your mum have a second fence alongside the neighbour's but within her own boundary (and not touching the sacred fence obviously!) so that, if she's getting up when gardening and touching the fence, it's her own fence?
That doesn't help the ridiculous behaviour exactly but might alleviate the pressure for your mum. If the neighbour then switches to a different complaint it then surely proves harrassment.
We've put up a few planters with trellis backs along the fence between the two patios (small terraced cottages with pretty small front gardens) but mum won't have anything else. I've been very tempted to just do it when she's on holiday!! The old lady had even been seen poking mums sheets on the line if they blow near her fence/boundary. It's ridiculous.
You might find that the police are coming out and are submitting reports to sw regarding the neighbour rather than your mother if you see what I mean.
If they have a concern they will go out to her, regardless of how ridiculous her complaints are. I used to go out regularly to people and listen to their complaints but it was them I was interested in, not who they were generally complaining about.
It sounds like the neighbour has dementia like other posters have said.
Im also surprised the police keep coming out for it.
I wouldnt call them out it though OP. Maybe call adult social care and explain what youve said to us and that youre a bit worried about the sudden change etc.
They wonr be able to discuss anything with you but i think these things are like a jigsaw, the more nuggets of information they get from family, friends, GP, etc the more they can assess her vulnerability.
However cantankerous the neighbour may be, i think shes probably quite vulnerable.
I wish they were Nicknacky, but they haven't even rung her daughter when they said they would.
Do you think it's worth going speaking to the police myself, without my mum, and stressing how much it's upsetting her? She comes across younger and stronger than she is..
Are the police coming to your mums door to speak to her about it?
Yes I was going to say what @NickNacky said - I suspect the police are coming out because they're worried about your mums neighbour's mental health/vulnerability/etc and are responding to the calls because they want to see what's really going on with a view to contacting appropriate services if necessary.
Awful for your mum, and bordering on harassment surely?
Calling the police out for touching a fence is ludicrous - I'm surprised they do come out, since people report police not attending actual burglaries.
I would report it - along the lines of continual harassment/abuse of process or whatever it's called when someone keeps calling the police over nothing.
She's been like this for about six years, ten years with the next door neighbour (we initially believed her that he was being horrible to her!) and for several years before that in her previous house. Her daughter seems to just believe her. I really don't think it's dementia, it doesn't change or worsen, it's calculated and constant, she never trips herself up or forgets, and there are absolutely no other signs of it. I've had a fair bit of experience of dementia with my husband' mum. It's an obsession. She's just a really nasty old woman, who has no friends at all (hence why mum toon her under he wing and took her into her social circle) and who seems to put am her energy into this.
Yes they usually come to her door (well they did last year on 4 occasions). Today the police lady rang my mum to warn her the neighbour had complained again and was talking of getting a solicitor involved. The police lady told my mum not to worry as she's done nothing wrong. I wish she would get a solicitor involved, they might tel her she's wasting her time?
The police will in no doubt be forwarding it all to social services. Not nice for your mum but not an easy situation.
I doubt her daughter does believe her, I suspect she knows exactly how her mum is acting but as long as she is being nasty to the neighbours, it keeps her off the daughter's back. As your mum knows the name of the police officer who is dealing with this, I would contact her and ask why they have not contacted the woman's daughter (if your mum is sure that they haven't).
She is sure, mum asked her last year.. Her daughter (who mum knew first through a joint interest) doesn't seem to want to discuss it and has cooled her friendship with my mum since. Tonight my mum actually rang the daughter and said she's sick of it all and will not be putting up with it anymore. They actually had a reasonable conversation about other things. Her daughter did offer to have a word with her mum (which I thought was a good thing) but my mum said to leave it for now.
Because she says it's ok she will just ignore it all (and the daughter having a word will rattle her cage and make her step up her nasty behaviour). However this is the first time this year, and my mum gets more wound up by it each time, even if she knows it's stupid, so I know she is incapable of ignoring it.
Speak to a solicitor and see if they can send the ndn a letter stating that if she keeps calling the police on your mother that you will be getting the police involved as its harassment .
Would it be worth it to you and your mum to see a solicitor for advice? Tell your mum that it doesn't mean she has to do anything, it just means that you will both be informed as to what might be able to be done if things become truly intolerable.
BTW, have you tried to talk to the daughter yourself about how upsetting this is to your mother? Perhaps gently hint to her that things may need to be 'take further' if her mother doesn't stop? It's probably easy for the daughter to 'yes yes' to an elderly lady then do nothing. She might not find that so easy after speaking to that lady's daughter who isn't afraid to rattle the cage.
I would complain to the police. This is harassment. Your mother is not doing anything illegal. They are picking on her for the same reason schools pick on the victims of a bully - the victim is easier to deal with and not going to kick up a bolshy fuss. The squeaky wheel gets the grease and in this case it is the neighbor. You and your mother need to squeak back. I am in the US and there is usually a civilian oversight of our police departments. There must be something similar in the UK surely?
Telling your mother that the neighbor is contacting a solicitor was ridiculous. Why didn't the police tell the neighbor that your mother was not doing anything wrong and she was wasting everyone's time? They could have headed that whole thing off at the pass and saved themselves effort down the road.
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now
Already registered with Mumsnet? Log in to leave your comment or alternatively, sign in with Facebook or Google.
Please login first.