West Norfolk Council seeks extension of nuisance behaviour powers

The Highgate property (Flat 103) King's Lynn ANL-150124-090035009
The Highgate property (Flat 103) King's Lynn ANL-150124-090035009
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Council officials will be able to use new powers to curb anti-social behaviour in West Norfolk if proposals are given the go-ahead over the next few days.

West Norfolk Council officers have already obtained two court orders to close homes in Lynn and Downham under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, which became law last autumn.

But proposals to be debated by the authority’s regenerational, environment and community panel tomorrow will, if approved, enable the authority to use the new laws to tackle a range of other problems.

And lead officer Mark Whitmore said: “The act does provide significant opportunities to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour.”

The new law replaces a range of legislation previously used to tackle different forms of anti-social behaviour.

Three new powers are now available to the authority, including Criminal Behaviour Orders (CPOs), though they are most commonly sought by police, following a person’s conviction for a criminal offence.

The council can also impose Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs), which are designed to tackle issues such as dog fouling and problems relating to drugs and alcohol, and Community Protection Notices (CPNs) against persistently anti-social individuals or groups.

Anyone who breaches a CPN or a PSPO is likely to face an £80 fixed penalty notice, though the charge is reduced to £60 if it is paid within 14 days.

Officials have already used the act’s provisions to seek closure orders on homes in Downham last November and in Lynn last month, where the use of the properties use was deemed to have caused, or risk causing, disorder. Under the law, such properties can be shut for up to six months.

And the law also allows social or private landlords to seek absolute grounds for possession of their property to evict tenants if a closure order has been granted or other offences have been committed.

Deputy leader Brian Long said yesterday: “It enables us to use the up to date law, as required.”

Following tomorrow’s meeting, cabinet members will be asked to approve the delegation of the powers to council officers when they meet next Tuesday, March 3.