A report by the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer
The Anti-Social Behaviour Officer presented the report confirming that the Council’s Community Safety Team used National Legislation and County-Wide Policies and Procedures when dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). The team worked alongside numerous partner agencies, particularly the Neighbourhood Policing Team based at Boston Police Station.
The Council’s only ASB Officer widely utilised the powers contained within the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014, guided by the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership Strategy’s ‘Intervention and Incremental Approach Policy and Procedure 2015’ when dealing with ASB and other non-criminal offences. The approach normally had 4 stages with statistics throughout the report for each stage for ASB enforcement and PSPO enforcement
Appendix 1 of the report provided ASB enforcement statistics for the period 1st April 2020 – 31st March 2021 in comparison to the previous year, 1st April 2019 – 31st March 2020. Appendix B provided PSPO for alcohol statistics.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Officer concluded his presentation with a summary of the statistics as noted below:
Stage: 2020-2021 2019 – 2020
1. ASB Advice Letter 70 issued 61 issued
2. ASB Warning Letter 31 issued 80 Issued
3. Acceptable Behaviour Agreement 3 issued 17 issued
4. Civil Injunctions (granted by Court) 0 issued 9 issued
For over 18’s
5. Stage 3 Community Protection
Notice Warnings. 0 issued 2 issued
6. Stage 3 Community Protection
Notice 0 issued 0 issued
PSPO – Alcohol:
Stage: 2020-2021 2019 – 2020
1. PSPO Advice Letter 99 issued 57 Issued
2. PSPO Warning Letter 15 issued 7 issued
3. Community Protection Notice 8 issued 1 issued
4. Community Protection Notice 0 issued 0 issued
Breach of PSPO (refused a request by an authorised officer to desist from drinking alcohol within the designated are or leave the area):
Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) 0 issued 0 issued
Providing information on the procedure of the staged approach the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer advised that the Council or Police produced the 1st stage letter and the PCSO who dealt with the original incident delivered it to the person at their home address. The letter stayed on file for six month and if the person re offended within that period a stage 2 warning letter was issued, which would be delivered to the home address by the Community Safety Officer and a Police Officer. The information would also be relayed to other services including Futures4Me which supported a number of youth services under its’ own umbrella. The family of the offender would also receive an offer of support but uptake was purely voluntary. When the offender further offended within the six months, they received a Community Protection Notice followed by an invitation to agree an acceptable behaviour contract that would include a set of conditions. Compliance of the conditions would be voluntary, however normally they undertook the conditions and the majority of offenders at this stage very rarely proceeded to offend further. When they did re-offend, the Council applied for a civil injunction through the Court. Older people who did offend and received a community protection notice very rarely offended further.
Member comment and questioning followed which included:
Addressing the value and strength of the PSPO a Member asked if the Council had to the right to extend its’ power to enable more offenders with increased repercussions’ for its misuse. The Anti-Social Behaviour Officer advised that the PSPO was under National Legislation and used across the Country. He reminded Members that it was not unlawful to drink in the street. However, if a person was seen drinking by an Officer, they would be asked to dispose of it. Police dealt with drunk and disorderly incidents, the PSPO was only one option of dealing with street drinking as the Police had other powers that superseded the PSPO. The only way to change the legislation would be via lobbying the local MP.
Referencing an incident they had observed within the town whereby a person had been under the influence of alcohol at 0830hours in the town centre and had become violent, the Chairman advised she had called 101 and received a prompt response with 2 officers attending in a short space of time to ensure the safety of the person. Inspector Harrod advised that the person concerned had arrived in the town in a transit fashion. They had been offered help on a number of occasions but had continually refused it and the Police had made is clear that such behaviour would not be tolerated and the person had since left the town. The Portfolio Holder confirmed that other legislation was available for persistent offenders, to allow the Council the right to exclude them from the town. Boston had excellent services to support such people but they had to engage and if they chose not to and continued to cause problems, then they were subject to exclusion.
A Member questioned the increase in certain areas attributed to Covid and asked what had happened since the situation had relaxed as the population came out of Covid restrictions and would the figures next year reflect a change.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Officer advised that the figures within the report from March 2020 to July 2020 had been much lower because of Covid19. Adults who had abused staff at the vaccination centres received stage 2 letters and the school holiday period usually resulted in a dip in incidents. However, the late autumn and winter months often had a spike in incidents due to the darker nights. Members were reassured that if an incident was report it would be dealt with. The staged approach worked but a small minority would always continue to offend.
Referencing cycling in and around the town a number of Members agreed that it was very dangerous and all residents were at risk of injury, especially the elderly and infirm. The lanes around the town proved exceptionally dangerous and the speed of the cyclists left no room to move out of the way. They stopped buses on occasion, scared people and the cyclists themselves had no thought of pedestrians. Suggestions to slow down the cyclists or to identify them included possible fences across the lanes providing a chicane, although concern noted the effect of mobility scooters.
The Anti-Social Behaviour Officer agreed the sentiments and concerns of the members and assured them that action to identify the culprits via CCTV and is taken, and the PCSO who worked alongside the schools and did go into the schools to confront the perpetrators. Inspector Harrod further advised that the town team had prioritised the issue with tickets having been issued and PCSO’s having stood at the end of the lanes. However, whilst signage was in place, it was ignored, and along with other activities, the action itself was quick.
Committee noted the report and agreed their appreciation of the work undertaken.