Are Community Protection Notices working?04/07/18
In most cases they are working, but we’ve recently heard about a handful of cases which appear on the face of it to be unjust. However, for those professionals working in the Police, local authority or a Housing Provider; they will know all too often that there is always another side to the story.
The clear benefit of having a Community Protection Notice (CPN) at the disposal of a professional agency is that it can be used for a wide range of issues and focusses more on the outcome of the problem instead of just focussing on what the problem is. This allows officers flexibility in its use in order to hopefully stop the problem from escalating. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the CPN Warnings are having a positive impact on stopping Anti-social behaviour (ASB) from escalating as it highlights the repercussions if the problems were to continue.
There has been some criticism over how much power the state has in issuing CPN’s which will lead to a criminal offence if breached. However, local authorities and the Police have a duty to investigate ASB complaints and having a tool to use outside of issuing legal proceedings seems like a sensible one. Should the powers be used inappropriately, there is an appeals process. In any case, it’s not in the professional’s interest to misuse CPN’s as this would undermine the whole objective of trying to reduce ASB.
Why use a CPN?
CPN’s can be used for a whole range of ASB from Noise nuisance and untidy gardens to dog fouling and abusive language. Using this tool provides an attempt to intervene early and avoid the need for lengthy and potentially expensive legal processes.
The most common problem that we hear about is that local authorities, Police and/or Housing Providers are not using their powers to tackle ASB enough. Housing Providers have the ability to issue CPN’s if they are to receive delegated authority from the local authority. This is helpful if the housing provider has the resources to investigate ASB and feels that a CPN may help to tackle the problem. However, it’s still apparent that many local authorities have not given delegated powers to housing providers.
A CPN can be issued if one of the bodies is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the conduct of the individual, business or organisation:
- is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality;
- is persistent or continuing in nature; and
- is unreasonable.
A formal written warning must be issued prior to serving a CPN, outlining the behaviour that is considered to be ASB, the time by which the behaviour is expected to have changed; and setting out potential consequences of being issued with a CPN.
If the individual or business breaches this warning then a CPN can be served which would usually contain any or all of the following:
- a requirement to stop doing specified things;
- a requirement to do specified things;
- a requirement to take reasonable steps to achieve specified results.
Failure to comply with a CPN is a criminal offence and can be punishable through either a Fixed Penalty Notice or a Fine of up to a level 4 (Up to £20,000 in the case of a business or organisation).
Would you like to know more about CPNs or the ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014?
Our Housing Advisory Services offer specialist ASB advice, guidance and support to Local Authorities, Policing teams and Housing Providers. We have an ‘Becoming an ASB Pro’
training series and will be running our ‘ASB Project’ in the coming months. To find out more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our page.
We are delighted to announce that we will be running our second ASB Project which will start at the end of the Summer. This is a great opportunity for housing providers and local authorities to examine their approaches to tackling ASB and learn new approaches. The project will provide a combination of workshops, consultancy an innovative online case review tool and much more.
We have limited numbers available so please do get in touch if you’d like to be a part of the project. Follow this link to find out more and register your interest.