Council to lead in bad behaviour crackdown

West Lindsey HQ EMN-140608-131811001
West Lindsey HQ EMN-140608-131811001

Sweeping new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour will be given to West Lindsey and other councils next month.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act will see council staff do more to tackle anti-social behaviour and environmental crime, with officers issuing fixed penalty notices.

West Lindsey District Councillors were expected to back the changes at a meeting last night, bringing it into line with government legislation passed in March.

The new rules, which come into force on October 20, will see Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) been replaced with Criminal Behaviour Orders, which would now be civil rather than criminal offences, with a lower burden of proof.

Community Protection Orders will replace Litter Clearing Notices, and see councils issuing fixed penalty notices of up to £100. Registered Social Landlords could also issue such notices themselves.

Public Spaces Protection orders (PSPO) will replace Dog Control Orders, Gating Orders and Designated Public Space Orders (drinking in public spaces), which will see West Lindsey inherit powers from county and parish councils.

West Lindsey will also gain more power to shut residential, businesses or licensed premises, with 48 hours closure been allowed without it having to apply to court for full closure.

The Prosperous Communities committee was due to back changes to the council's constitution to allow the new powers.

A council report added: "Fixed penalty notices are a valuable tool to our enforcement officers, enabling us to take clear action on an offence without a full court action, but also leaving the door open to prosecution if not paid."

"The implementation of the new legislation offers West Lindsey an opportunity to set as an example as a leader in the management of anti-social behaviour and environmental crime," it added.

Market Rasen district councillor Burt Keimach saw the changes as "an excellent idea" to stop anti-social behaviour.

"We have to do something to clean up this Market Rasen yob situation. Anything we can do to give people this message gets my full support," he said.

However, Prosperous Communities committee vice-chair Coun Lewis Strange, feared about the police losing powers, which senior council officers will gain.

"The powers of the police are sacrosanct. They cannot be rolled out to anybody. We should be guardian's of people's liberty. West Lindsey will make sure nothing untoward happens," he said.