Independent | Councils use ‘intrusive’ new law to fine people for feeding birds, rough sleeping and crying

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31 October 2016

Councils use ‘intrusive’ new law to fine people for feeding birds, rough sleeping and crying

‘If you cannot cry within your own house, or feed the birds in your garden, then the home has no significant meaning as a private space’

by Peter Walker

Campaigners have slated councils across the UK for fining people for feeding the birds, crying, having dirty windows and various other supposed acts of anti-social behaviour.

A report released by the Manifesto Club, a group of anti-regulation campaigners, revealed how local authorities were using the controversial Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

The law has been used to settle neighbourhood disputes and also stop busking, rough sleeping and deal with “roaming peacocks”.

The report’s author Josie Appleton wrote: “Such orders undermine the privacy and sanctity of the home.

“If you cannot cry within your own house, or feed the birds in your garden, then the home has no significant meaning as a private space which is protected from the demands of the outer world.

“These orders also criminalise some activities commonly viewed as normal or even positive: feeding wild birds in your garden is encouraged by the RSPB.”

Community protection notices (CPNs) were introduced to prohibit activity that has a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life.

Council officers can hand out a £100 on-the-spot fine and a failure to comply can lead to a £2,500 court fine.

According to details obtained by the Manifesto Club under the Freedom of Information Act, 107 councils imposed 3,943 CPNs between October 2014 and October 2015.

Newham council issued 1,486 CPNs and 8,795 CPN warnings, while Wakefield issued 802.

Leeds city council said it used the orders extensively but that it did not know the numbers.

Four councils (East Devon, North Devon, Conwy and Exeter) dished out a number of notices for feeding birds in gardens, three councils (Bath, South Gloucestershire and Ashford) had done so for busking, and 18 for messy gardens.

Five councils (Waltham Forest, Nottingham, Gosport, Lambeth and Bristol) issued CPNs over Japanese knotweed. Some councils also issued notices for “arguing/shouting/crying” in the home, and for “neighbourhood disputes”.

Between 1 April 2015 to 31 December 2015, 254 led to prosecutions for failing to comply with the notice, and 200 were successful.

Manifesto Club director Ms Appleton added: “There is a grave need to subject CPNs to a greater degree of oversight and control, to limit such broad and intrusive application.”

Details of Manifesto Club FOI Request to Exeter City Council

1. Please state the number of that you have issued since October 2014. Please indicate the subject of these CPNs [eg, messy gardens, feeding the birds, busking, or begging]. If possible, please provide the text of these notices

Issued for feeding seagulls
Issued for feeding seagulls
Land being used for ASB and refuse accumulation
Land being used for ASB and refuse accumulation
Door slamming and shouting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting
Fly posting

 

Devon & Cornwall Police | Anti-Social Behaviour & Escalation Poli

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Force Policy & Procedure: Anti-Social Behaviour & Escalation Policy 

Reference Number:D290 

Policy Version Date: 26 April 2016 

Review Date: 25 April 2017 

Policy Ownership Local Policing & Partnership Department 

Portfolio Holder Assistant: Chief Constable (LPP) 

Links or overlaps with other policies See section 6 

1. Policy Statement 

1.1 The mission of Devon and Cornwall Police is to detect and prevent harm, protect the vulnerable and reduce crime. Working together as one team to safeguard communities and neighbourhoods, we are sustainable and resilient and provide a high quality service to the public acting in accordance with the national Code of Ethics and our Force standards of behaviour.

1.2 In pursuit of these aims, the Force will seek to work in partnership with our partner agencies, to ensure that Anti-Social Behaviour is tackled with the appropriate balance between support for those who are willing to accept it and swift, effective enforcement for those who are not.

1.3 Anti-social behaviour (ASB) is defined under section 2 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014

1.4 This policy is written with regard to the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, Devon and Cornwall Force Strategy, the OPCC Policing and Crime Plan and the Home Office Statutory Guidance. OFFICIAL For Public Release [FOIA – Open]

1.5 The Police perspective in partnership working brings a focus on Public Protection, Action and Enforcement. It supports efforts of education, prevention and reduction.

1.6 Penalty Notices for Disorder will be taken into consideration with regard to any evidence gathering in relation to applying for a Criminal Behaviour Order.

1.7 This policy should be read with reference to TP05 Criminal Behaviour Orders Working Practice.

1.8 Devon and Cornwall Police will only apply for a Civil Injunction or Criminal Behaviour Order for an individual after going through the processes described in this document.

1.9 In the application of this policy staff are reminded of the need to comply with the standards and principles of the Code of Ethics for policing.

1.10 In the application of this policy staff are reminded of the need to comply with the Equality Act 2010.

2. Introduction 

2.1 This policy sets out the structure for dealing with persistent Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) at individual case level throughout Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. It has been drafted following consultation with Partner agencies such as Local Authorities, Health, Probation, Education and Social Services.

2.2 The structure is intended to be a common basic framework of minimum standards. This is to allow a flexible and adaptable response at the local level (Community Safety Partnerships) that can take advantage of local opportunities and recognise local constraints. It is not intended to be prescriptive. This is in recognition of the differing needs of our diverse communities.

2.3 Individual agencies may have their own internal mechanisms for dealing with ASB. It is not intended that this structure should replace these. It is intended that this structure should form a framework within which the work of differing agencies can be brought together to ensure that enforcement methods such as Civil Injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Orders are not sought without making use of warnings, support and joint interventions where appropriate.

2.4 It is intended that the Partnerships would use every tool at their disposal to offer persistent offenders the opportunity to help themselves. However if these efforts were ignored, swift and effective enforcement would follow.

2.5 This policy places value on our communities and is aimed at increasing public confidence in our service by use of a partnership culture firmly linking this policy to the Force Strategy. OFFICIAL For Public Release [FOIA – Open]

3. Procedures 

3.1. The ASB process begins when an individual comes to the attention of a partner agency for behaviour considered to be “Anti-Social”. This has been defined in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 as “conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person, conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person’s occupation of residential premises, or conduct capable of causing housing-related nuisance or annoyance to any person”.

3.2 Stage 1 

3.2.1 The partner agency may use their own internal mechanisms for dealing with the ASB. Referrals may have been made to other agencies; routes to receiving help (involving other agencies) may have been sign posted for the individual. However as a minimum standard evidence would be required that:

 The individual (and parent/guardian where appropriate) had been contacted. Note: This should be done by letter, and where appropriate by a visit in person as well. The letter would provide documentary evidence of the points below.

 It had been explained to the individual why it was felt that the behaviour was unacceptable.

 It had been explained to the individual the likely implications for the individual in terms of the ASB structure if there is a recurrence of the behaviour.

 A contact point had been given to the individual concerned for any queries.

3.2.2 It is strongly recommended that where children and young people are concerned the Youth Offending Team is contacted at this stage.

3.2.3 The Gatekeeper within the partner agency would decide at which point to move the escalation process up to stage 2.

3.2.4 Within LPAs the nominated liaison officer will decide at which point to move the escalation process up to stage 2.

3.3 Stage 2 

3.3.1 At stage 2 the Community Safety Partnership ASB Co-ordinator is informed. At this stage the minimum standards require that:

 The ASB Co-ordinator has a point of contact within the partner agency.

 The ASB Co-ordinator is satisfied that the minimum standards at stage 1 have been met.

 The ASB Co-ordinator actively gathers intelligence on the individual concerned from partner agencies.

OFFICIAL For Public Release [FOIA – Open]

 The ASB Co-ordinator would ensure that the individual concerned is aware of the seriousness of the behaviour in question and was aware of the consequences should this behaviour continue. This should be done by letter which, would provide documentary evidence and reinforced by a personal visit if appropriate.

3.3.2 In all cases where a child or young person is involved the ASB Co-ordinator will inform the Youth Offending Team at this stage.

3.4 Stage 3 

3.4.1 This stage of the process is reached if the ASB persists or is of such proportions that intervention at this stage is required to address the behaviour concerned. The minimum standards at this stage require that:

 The individual concerned is informed by letter of the meeting/consultation.

 A multi-agency meeting/consultation takes place, where each agency in the partnership is represented.

 The role of this multi-agency forum is to discuss support and enforcement that can be brought to bear and to offer the advice and assistance of the forum to partner agencies as appropriate.

 The multi-agency forum would be responsible for the review and monitoring of individual cases at subsequent meetings, until the problem is felt to be resolved.

3.4.2 It is recognised that a consensus on the appropriate course of action to be taken may not always be reached. In cases where such consensus is not reached it will be for the statutory agencies to determine the course of action for fulfilling their obligations under Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 which creates a statutory duty for agencies to consult each other on matters regarding crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour, which led to the creation of the Community Safety Partnerships.

4. Audit / Assessment Compliance 

4.1 This policy has been drafted and audited in accordance with the principles of Human Rights legislation, the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Policing Bureaucracy Gateway and Freedom of Information Act 2000. Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the document is classified as ‘Open’.

5. Review and Ownership 

5.1 The review of the contents of this policy is the responsibility of the Head of the Local Policing and Partnerhips Department. Review of the policy will be undertaken annually. OFFICIAL For Public Release [FOIA – Open]

26/04/2016 5 Force Publication Scheme

6 Useful Links 

6.1 TP05 – ASBO Working Practice

Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 

Home Office Statutory Guidance 

Penalty Notices for Disorder

DCP e-briefing

Community Triggers Guidance

Transitional arrangements for PSPOs

The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 made amendments to various previous pieces of legislation including:
Crime and Disorder Act 1998,
Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003,
Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006,
Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005,
Environmental Protection Act 1990,
Licensing Act 2003,
Highways Act 1980. and
Housing Act 1985.

The Act also replaced the 19 existing powers to deal with anti-social behaviour with 6 simpler, more effective powers designed to provide better protection for victims and communities

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ASBCP Act 2014 specifies the transitional arrangements for existing powers, which unless revoked, remain in force for three years from the commencement date of the new Act.

In Exeter, existing Gating Orders, Dog Control Orders and Designated Public Place Orders will remain in force until 19 October 2017 or until they are discharged by the Council, whichever is the earliest. Orders still in force on the 19th October 2017 will become automatically become Public Space Protection Orders.