Police hand out more than 5,000 fixed penalties to louts

SUFFOLK: More than 5,300 fixed penalty notices have been given out to louts for disorderly behaviour over the past three years, according to Suffolk Constabulary.

It also emerged that 24 per cent (1,296) of the total of the 5,319 sanctions involved young adults aged between 16 and 21.

However, there was a marked drop between the number of tickets handed out in 2009 (1,581) and 2007 (1,883), which officers attribute to further powers they have been given to deal with relatively minor troublemaking.

Sergeant Domenic Mann, of Suffolk’s night-time economy team, said fixed penalties were a valuable tool for police and public alike.

He said: “A fixed penalty is better for everyone concerned.

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“It stops a court appearance and means we can stay on the streets.

“If we can deal with people without having to take them into custody it saves us a considerable amount of time.

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“People now know, if they get caught urinating in the street it’s going to cost them �80 so they are a lot more wary of what they are doing.”

Police also now use a power under what is called a Section 27 notice, which provides an alternative to fixed penalties.

This means officers are able to ensure potential troublemakers leave an area or face arrest.

Sgt Mann said: “If we feel someone is likely to contribute to alcohol-related crime and disorder we can give them a notice to leave an area for up to 48 hours.

“We are finding the main issue at the moment is people drinking before they come into town.

“They need to understand if they are too drunk they will not be allowed into licensed premises.

“Section 27 notices are very effective. They remove people from the town and if not they will be arrested.”

n What would you like to see done to help keep down disorderly behaviour? E-mail eveningstarletters@evening star.co.uk or write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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