Council introduces 23 new community safety roles
Central Bedfordshire Council has introduced 23 new roles within its community safety team to assist in tackling crime and anti-social behaviour across the area.
Fifteen of the new officers have completed a community safety accreditation scheme. This provides them a range of additional powers usually only available to police. Such as the authority to request the name and address of a person acting in an anti-social manner and to be able to seize alcohol from a person under 18 in a public place.
The officers will be able to issue fixed penalty notices, up to the value of £400* where required for certain offences. These powers will also help officers tackle local issues and low-level crime, which in turn helps to serve communities better and keep them safer.
The new officers will also be tackling issues around anti-social behaviour like graffiti, shoplifting, street drinking and also environmental crimes such as fly-tipping, dog fouling, littering and noise issues.
Councillor Ian Dalgarno, executive member for Community Services, said:
“During these difficult times, it has become apparent that now, more than ever, we must continue to take a proactive approach to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour. I am delighted to welcome our new officers who are already out undertaking patrols and talking to residents and businesses about the issues affecting them and what could be done to make their lives safer and more satisfying.
“With so many new officers out in the community we are now able to improve our support to the local community, by responding to issues faster, sharing local intelligence with the police and generally have more visibility and presence in the community. This in turn helps people to feel safer and allows us to deal with low level crime.
“Low levels of crime and anti-social behaviour are important in making somewhere a good place to live and work. We know feeling safe is really important to our residents and we are responding to this by having these new uniformed officers out and about, making our streets safer for all.”
Team to patrol towns and villages and talk to residents and businesses
These new officers are part of a wider community safety team that help improve local communities across central Bedfordshire.
Together, the team will be undertaking regular patrols and visits towns and villages to talk to residents and businesses about any issues that are affecting them and what could be done to make their lives better.
The Council said that the team are able to respond to issues faster, and are able to share local intelligence with the police.
During the current pandemic officers will also be undertaking checks to ensure businesses and the public are adhering to government COVID-19 guidelines and offering advice and support where needed.
The Council said the team has received positive feedback from residents who have come into contact with them. And have already been involved in helping with a number of issues in the community.
Including safeguarding homeless and vulnerable adults, providing assistance to an elderly person who had collapsed in the street, alerting emergency authorities to a gas leak in a town centre, and finding concealed knives in a wooded area.
*Fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) can be issued for:
- Graffiti and fly-posting – £80
- Littering – £150
- Small scale fly-tipping – £400
- Breach of a Public Space Protection Order relating to dog fouling, dog not on a lead and not on a lead by direction of an authorised officer, and dog in a prohibited area – £100
- Breach of a Public Space Protection Order by ceasing consumption of alcohol or failing to surrender alcohol in a designated area – £100
Most FPNs are subject to a discount if paid within 14 days. FPNs not paid will be subject to prosecution.
The team is also able, in support of civil enforcement officers, to issue penalty charge notices for priority parking contraventions.