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New powers for council staff

PUBLISHED: 14:30 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:32 01 August 2010

COUNCIL workers look set to gain new powers to combat anti-social behaviour and environmental problems in Waveney.

Plans are being drawn up to give Waveney District Council officers the "additional powers" to allow them to work more closely with police in tackling graffiti, litter, abandoned cars, anti-social behaviour, disorder and public nuisance.

COUNCIL workers look set to gain new powers to combat anti-social behaviour and environmental problems in Waveney.

Plans are being drawn up to give Waveney District Council officers the “additional powers” to allow them to work more closely with police in tackling graffiti, litter, abandoned cars, anti-social behaviour, disorder and public nuisance.

The latest moves come as part of a Suffolk Constabulary scheme, supported by Suffolk County Council, which allows organisations and their employees to be given approved police powers to address problems that blight the community.

Talks are still at an earl” stage, but the council confirmed at a cabinet meeting last month that it would apply for accreditation under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme in partnership with its private partner Waveney Norse.

Assistant chief executive, Arthur Charvonia, told The Journal: “Working closely with the police, accreditation will further boost the council's community safety powers and will help make people feel even safer in the area where they live. This is an important step and means we'll be even more effective at tackling noisy neighbours, vandalism, criminal damage and other anti-social behaviour.”

A Suffolk police spokesman said the force was keen to progress with the initiative, although the process of applying for accreditation was likely to take several weeks.

“Once they have applied for accreditation and been approved Waveney will then be asked to identify those employees they wish to have selected powers and what these will cover - for example this could include powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, such as seizing alcohol from underage drinkers. These individuals will then be vetted and if they are cleared, they will then be trained in the use of their new powers.”

It is hoped that the accreditation process will be completed in time for the busy summer season.

Specific employees will have the legal power to obtain an individual's name and address as well as issue fixed penalty notices and share relevant information with Suffolk Constabulary.

Chief Inspector Paul Sharp, Waveney's District Commander, said: “We view this as a positive move towards closer partnership working between police and the council and service providers.

“This should have longer-term benefits in helping to tackle problems of anti-social behaviour and environmental issues, such as littering, to make local communities safer and more pleasant.”

Echoing those sentiments, Suffolk's chief constable Simon Ash exclusively told The Journal: “This scheme will continue to strengthen our links with the local community, and further increase public reassurance by creating additional capacity in support of our Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs).”

The accreditation scheme will support the work of the SNTs by helping to generate even more localised and high quality local information, which will then be shared with the police and other partners. This will help to direct resources even more effectively and in turn tackle problems such as anti-social behaviour which greatly impact on people's lives.

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