Police welcome yob crackdown
POLICE in Suffolk and Essex last night welcomed tough new laws announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett to crackdown on anti-social behaviour.The new measures, which were announced in the Commons yesterday, involve issuing troublemakers with fixed penalty notices of up to £100.
POLICE in Suffolk and Essex last night welcomed tough new laws announced by Home Secretary David Blunkett to crackdown on anti-social behaviour.
The new measures, which were announced in the Commons yesterday, involve issuing troublemakers with fixed penalty notices of up to £100.
The scheme is designed to rid the streets of loutishness and give the police more options in tackling unruly and nuisance behaviour.
Essex Police is one of four forces across the country already piloting the new law.
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Between August and February this year, the force served 681 fixed penalty notices mostly for public disorder offences and drunkenness. Of those, 339 were £80 fines and 342 were £40 fines.
A spokesman for Essex Police said: “The Government seems to think the trial has been effective and certainly we have used them extensively in this force.
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“They have been another option for us in dealing with offenders. It has reduced the amount of time officers would otherwise have spent on case files and has allowed them back on the street carrying out the duties that the public would like them to do.”
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said it welcomed any new proposal that would help Suffolk achieve status as the safest county in England and Wales.
“Anti social behaviour can seriously hinder the quality of life for individuals and communities,” she said.
“We will need to take time to look at the proposals contained in the white paper in detail and to consider their full impact before we comment further.
“Tackling anti social behaviour is not purely an issue for the police and we will be discussing the impact of these proposals with our partner agencies.”
The new laws would give police greater powers to disperse problem groups in areas experiencing high levels of anti social behaviour.
There would also be new powers to close down pubs and clubs that create a problem.
Liz Pettman, chairman of the Suffolk Police Federation, said the new fine system would reduce the paperwork officers presently deal with, and allow them more time to patrol the streets.
“We haven't had the experience in this county of the benefit of the pilot that other forces have run to say how it would work in Suffolk,” she said.
“Anything that gives police officers more options on how to deal with a set of circumstances is positive.
“The benefits of having the fixed penalty system is it reduces paperwork and the time officers spend on case files and appearing in court as well.
“We would also always say from a federation point of view that we need more people officers on the streets.”
Allister Hart, locality manager of the Suffolk Youth Offending Service, described the new laws as “another weapon in the armoury” for police.
“It's a matter of trying it. In Suffolk we have a lot of activities going on in a multi-agency way to tackle crime and disorder and we have had a lot of success.
“The Youth Offending Service is one of the agencies that deals with youth crime. With the police and the district and borough council we are already working with the youth nuisance register trying to prevent young people from committing disorder.”