Designated Melton Council officers, as well as police officers, will be able to issue community protection notices which are intended to ‘stop a person or business continuing with conduct which unacceptably affects the quality of life of people in the locality.’
If an offender fails to comply with the notice, without reasonable excuse, an authorised council officer can now issue them with a maximum £100 fixed penalty notice (reduced to £50 if it’s paid within 14 days). Offenders who don’t pay the fines could be taken to court and prosecuted in extreme cases.
Among the other measures introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is a ‘community trigger’ process which could also help reduce anti-social behaviour in the borough. This process gives victims and communities the right to request a review to resolve an ongoing problem which hasn’t been addressed. This ‘trigger’ can be activated:
l If an individual has complained to the council, police or a registered housing provider (social landlord) about three separate incidents in their locality in the last six months
l If three people in the local community have complained separately to the council, police or registered housing provider (social landlord) in the last six months about the same incident in their locality
l If an individual has been the victim of a hate crime or incident in the last six months
But community trigger applications may be rejected if they’re thought to be prejudicial, malicious, unreasonable or frivolous.
The new powers were explained at a recent meeting of Melton Council’s community and social affairs committee.
Councillor Alan Pearson said: “It concerns me that we’re going to be chasing people up who haven’t got the money to pay the notices.”
Ronan Browne, Melton Council’s people and place manager, stressed that the fixed penalty notices would only be issued to anti-social individuals as ‘a last resort’, adding that the number of incidents in the borough was very low, reducing to about 300 cases last year.
Harrinder Rai, the council’s head of communities and neighbourhoods, added: “This is another tool to help us tackle anti-social behaviour and it will allow us to work with victims. The issuing of fixed penalty notices will be a last resort and we will still carry on with our early prevention work.”