Civil issues

A civil dispute can be a disagreement over ownership of property, dissatisfaction with a product or service provided, disputes over debts or bills and many other things where there is a difference in opinion between two or more parties over what was agreed.

Unless a crime has been committed or someone is in immediate danger, the police are unlikely to intervene in civil disputes. However, we’ll put you in touch with the groups and organisations who can help.

Bonfires and barbecues

If a bonfire appears dangerously out of control, and you're worried about the safety of people or property, call 999 and ask for the fire brigade.

Lighting a bonfire is not illegal, but the smoke can be a statutory nuisance. The Environmental Health Officers of your Local Authority will be able to take action if the smoke from the bonfire is classed as a statutory nuisance. You need to record the details of who is lighting the fires, what time, what the effects were and your details.

The council can stop the person from committing a statutory nuisance and failure to comply can lead to prosecution. However, if the fires are only infrequent, it is unlikely the council will take any action.

The following resources may also be of use:

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

Property boundaries

Unless a crime has been committed, or is in progress, we don’t have the authority to intervene in a boundary dispute.

If you can’t find an amicable solution with your neighbour, we suggest seeking the advice of a solicitor to resolve this. You could also contact your bank, building society, or whoever holds your deeds, to confirm the boundaries.

The following websites have more information:


Many people are installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) as a home security measure as it has proved to be an effective tool in fighting crime. Cameras used for limited household purposes are not subject to the Data Protection Act 1998.

However, if the footage covers areas beyond this, such as neighbouring streets or other properties, problems may arise. There could be issues regarding privacy and harassment if you are being recorded in your home.

In the first instance, speak to your neighbour to see if it’s possible to reposition the camera so that it does not point at your property. If this is not successful, and you want to take further action, we recommend seeking legal advice from a solicitor.

Resources belonging to the Information Commissioner’s Office may also be of use.

This information is provided courtesy of Ask The Police.

Landlords and Tenants

If you are a landlord or a private tenant please visit for more information and how to get help.

Further information for landlords is also available on the National Landlords Association website.

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