New powers to fight anti-social behaviour come into force

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Police, councils and housing associations across Bedfordshire are to take advantage of new powers aimed at helping them to fight anti-social behaviour.

The powers came into effect this week and are made possible following the Government’s new Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Police Act 2014.

It was agreed to use the powers in Bedfordshire following a series of dedicated meetings between police, Luton Borough Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Bedford Borough Council, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association, Aragon Housing Association, Jephson Housing Association and Aldwyck Housing.

The partners agreed the key benefit of the legislation is that it helps ‘put victims first’ by making partnership working more effective and enforcement measures easier to implement.

New ‘Community Protection Notices’ will allow police and local authorities to tackle environmentally anti-social behaviour such as noise or fly-tipping and issue fixed penalty tickets to those who breach them.

Local authorities will be able to impose new Public Space Protection Orders to prohibit certain kinds of behaviour, such as drinking and

nuisance gatherings, within defined areas. Police and PCSOs will then be able to issue tickets to anyone who breaches them.

Another tool is the ‘Community Remedy’ document. It gives victims the chance to work with police and PCSOs and have a say on what low-level offenders should do instead of being taken to court. They will be able to choose from a list of pre-defined “actions”.

Under the legislation any victim who is unhappy with the response to an on-going problem by police and partners can apply to pull a new “community trigger”. The trigger requires partners to meet, review their response and consider what more can be done. Ways to apply the trigger will be advertised via the partners’ web sites and marketing materials.

A statement released by police and partners said: “We have given this legislation a great deal of consideration and concluded it will enable us as partners to build on much of the good work we are already doing to combat anti-social behaviour.

“That is great news for residents, great news for us and bad news for the small minority of individuals and groups who blight our communities with their selfish ways.”

Anyone with information on crime can contact Bedfordshire Police, in confidence, on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency always dial 999.