Agenda item

Agenda item

ASB Overview & Scrutiny Presentation 1 July 2016


To receive a presentation focussing on one aspect of the Community Safety priorities for 2016-17, that being Anti Social Behaviour (ASB), including information regarding recent work within the Community Safety team and the Police, outcomes and future plans with regards to tackling ASB.




The Community Safety Operations Manager delivered a presentation which set out the Council’s approach to managing Anti Social Behaviour (ASB), explaining that the focus was victim led, and outlined recent changes to legislation including the ASB Case Review (Community Trigger), Civil Injunction, Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), and the  Community Protection Notice. He encouraged Members to consider promoting the ASB Case Review when in discussion with constituents who are unsatisfied about the way their reports of ASB have been dealt with (full details on the Council website including application form). 


The ASB and Statutory Nuisance team leader briefed Members on the resource make-up of her team and the range of issues that they investigate and case manage: domestic statutory nuisance (noise, smoke, and light),

fly-tipping, ASB e.g. neighbours and youth nuisance, fly-tipping, littering, graffiti, fly-posting, and unauthorised advertising of vehicles.. The team highlighted the proactive approach used when dealing with cases of fly tipping, the close relationship with the rural liaison officer and the importance of educating the public with regards to passing waste to unlicensed carriers and the subsequent penalties involved.


Members queried the process for investigating statutory nuisance. In response the ASB and Statutory Nuisance team leader confirmed that cases could be reopened if necessary and that complainants  could also take their own action against offenders under legislation within the Environmental Protection Act.


In response to a Member query about the large case load of the ASB and Statutory Nuisance – approx.. 900 cases per year – the ASB and Statutory Nuisance team leader advised that comparisons with other authorities were problematic due to varying structures and recording practices.


The Committee requested liaison with the Magistrates Court in order to understand the level of sanctions imposed which often appeared too low in relation to the offence committed, with many of the penalties levied at the originator of the waste and not the carrier disposing of it. A discussion arose around the ease by which the public could dispose of waste and it was conceded that it would be difficult to prevent people who refused to use the HWRC's and instead chose to fly tip, with Members concluding that in these instances penalties needed to be prohibitive so as to discourage such activity as much as possible.


Members expressed concern at the level of nuisance cyclists in the South of the region and that measures to tackle the problem had not yielded results. The Environmental Protection Officer confirmed methods used to identify offenders, the close liaison with schools and parents as many offenders were under the age of 16, but acknowledged ongoing difficulties in improving the situation.


The Chief Inspector for Bedfordshire Police delivered a presentation which set out the Force’s approach to dangerous motorcycles in the region, in particular the South of Central Bedfordshire, titled Operation Meteor. The Chief Inspector explained the difference between those legally riding motorcycles who required education with regards where to ride safely and those deliberately breaking the law, with little regard for the consequences or the impact upon local communities. The police were ensuring pressure was applied to those adults responsible for the young people involved in nuisance motorcycle activity, with sanctions including a possible risk to tenancy agreements due to the anti social nature of the offences. The police force were working proactively to educate young people, family and friends of offenders with regards to the dangers posed when riding unsafely and the associated impact upon the local community. Additional officers were being trained in the use of motorcycles which would help remedy the situation over time.


In response to a Member query the Chief Inspector confirmed that Go Pro cameras were used which allowed officers to capture events as they occurred and that CCTV data was often of a high enough quality to support the identification of offenders. A discussion arose regards the use of tracking devices being fitted to motorcycles but it was conceded that this would be down to the owners with the cost often prohibitive.


A presentation was provided which detailed the work of the Community Alcohol Partnership which has been formed in Biggleswade.  The CAP sees the Community Safety Team working alongside partners, local retailers and the community to reduce alcohol related youth ASB and Street Drinking in Biggleswade.  The CAP aims to look at longer term prevention opportunities rather than reactive enforcement options.


The presentation explained the outcomes expected from the CAP which included a reduction in the number of alcohol related ASB and Crime, an improvement relationship between local agencies and the retailers, an increase in the education of young people around the effects of alcohol and improved wellbeing for the identified street drinkers.


The CAP to date has provided retailers and local licensees with free training of the responsible sale of alcohol and has seen a significant decrease in the number of complaints regarding the street drinking issue in Biggleswade.


The Committee went on to assess information with regards to street drinking across the region and Members were keen to understand any correlation between mental health issues and a rise in street drinking, associated offences and alcoholism as a whole. Nationally collated evidence suggested a decrease in happiness in children and young people and Members were keen to understand any holistic measures being taken to address this and wider issues. The Community Safety Analyst explained that there was no local data to support a correlation between street drinking and mental health, that surveys suggested young people sought fun and diversion, pre-loading their drinking due to the largely responsible sale of alcohol locally. Officers acknowledged the importance of providing and publicising positive and healthy activities for the mid-teen age group who were at an increased risk of developing negative behaviours in relation to drinking habits.



1.     That a report be delivered at a future meeting highlighting reasons for an increase in fly tipping.

2.     To invite a written response from the Magistrates Court explaining the rationale behind the levels of penalties imposed upon offenders.

3.     That the Directorate ensure costs be kept to a minimum with regards to waste disposal in order to encourage responsible management of waste and deter fly tipping.


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