Doubts over Flintshire Council’s one-man anti-social behaviour unit

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A UNIT at the forefront of plans to tackle unruly council tenants has been blasted.

Flintshire Council’s anti-social behaviour unit, which is manned by just one person, has been described as a ‘non-functioning department’ by a councillor after a proposal to crackdown on disorderly tenants.

A new system penalising those who break the rules could see the number of penalty points awarded for disruptive behaviour increased.

But with only one officer employed to deal with unruly tenants Cllr Bernie Attridge said it would make very little difference.

He said: “It is a non-functional department. Nobody should have to put up with anti-social behaviour, but we have an anti-social behaviour unit with one person.

“If you haven’t got the staff to enforce it just can’t be done. The idea of more penalty points is good on paper and it may be a deterrent to some.”

A plan will be put to the council’s executive proposing scrapping the current system of giving tenants 10, 20 or 30 points and replacing it with a blanket penalty of 80 points.

But cases will be judged individually and if serious needs such as homelessness or medical problems apply, penalty points could be removed.

Cllr Ron Hampson said: “More needs to be done. The penalty points are a good idea but I do not think a one-man unit is sufficient. I think we need more staff.

“There is anti-social behaviour on a lot of estates, but the penalty points are a good start.”

Cllr Rosetta Dolphin said she had a case where it took 18 months to remove tenants who had been engaging in anti-social behaviour.

She said: “I think the proposals are a step in the right direction. It should be enough to shock them into behaving. In the main most of our residents are well-behaved.”

Clare Budden, Flintshire’s head of housing, said: “Members were supportive of the report to increase the level of penalty points for proven or ongoing anti-social behaviour.

“Following comments and views expressed during the debate officers have agreed to present a more detailed report to a future meeting which will enable discussion about the council’s on-going approach to addressing anti-social behaviour.

“Eleven housing officers  deal with anti-social behaviour issues in their areas supported by a specialist officer for cases that require legal action.”

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