A few weeks ago, a resident of Godsey Lane contacted me with a few issues about policing, traffic and young people which, strictly-speaking, fall outside my role as a District Councillor. Nevertheless, we had a long chat about the various issues and I decided to get some answers direct from the police ‘horse’s mouth’. I hope the questions and answers below will be interesting to many people in the Deepings.
Dear Councillor Baxter,
Thank you for your email which was forwarded to me by the PCC as your queries were about operational issues, specifically about policing in the Deepings. I’m happy to answer the questions posed, and would also encourage you to engage with your local Neighbourhood Team, to understand what they are doing to keep the Deepings safe.
I have set out your questions below, followed by my response:
- Do the PCSOs have powers to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs)?
They do, and whilst this is useful, the purpose of Police Community Support Officers is primarily to work with the community to solve problems rather than to enforce. Whilst enforcement is one solution, it is rarely the first or preferred approach to local problems.
- If so, for which of the following misdemeanours can Lincolnshire PCSOs issue FPNs?
a) Illegal or inconsiderate parking
Lincolnshire County Council leads on parking enforcement and their Wardens address parking issues, not PCSOs, with the exception of Obstruction offences
b) Cycling on the pavement
Yes, PCSOs can enforce on this issue, but the safety of all road and pavement users is the primary concern – education is the preferred approach
c) Cycling without lights
PCSOs have not been given the power to issue FPNs to people cycling without lights.
Yes, PCSOs can enforce, but we work with District Councils where there is a persistent issue.
e) Dog fouling
No – again, PCSOs have not been given this power.
As mentioned above, the primary role of the PCSO is not enforcement. For the majority of the time PCSOs have been a part of policing in Lincolnshire they have not had any enforcement powers, and whilst these additional powers were granted to allow for a full range of outcomes, there is no incentive or expectation that enforcement will be used.
- At a pre-Covid meeting of the Deepings Police Forum, I recall one of our PCSOs saying that powers to enforce parking restrictions were being extended beyond LCC Parking Enforcement to allow PCSOs to issue FPNs for parking. Did this ever happen? And have the PCSOs received the relevant training?
PCSOs can issue a Traffic Offence Report (TOR ). This is a report that is considered by a central team to ensure a consistent approach for Unnecessary Obstruction, as that is a wider offence than purely breaching a parking regulation, and impacts the safety of other road users.
- Have PCSOs been granted any additional powers or training as a result of the Covid-19 situation?
Yes, PCSOs can issue FPNs in relation to COVID Regulation Breaches:
• Contravene requirement of restriction on movement
• Without reasonable excuse, obstruct person carrying out a function under restrictions
• Without reasonable excuse, contravene a direction or fail to comply with instruction
• Contravene requirement to not participate in a gathering in public of more than two people
- As you can possibly gather from the previous questions, there are ongoing problems with cyclists (mostly teenagers) being anti-social in the Deepings. I wonder if there is any way to find specific data relating to this issue and whether you know of any proactive measures being taken by Lincs Police, LCC or anyone else to mitigate the problem?
The local Inspector is Gary Stewart along with Sgt Emma Crisp and Beat Manager PC Claire Wilson are aware of the concerns raised by local residents about anti-social behaviour in the Deepings. I do not have data relating to the extent of the problem, but the neighbourhood team are working with the community to find the most effective solution to the issues.
Solutions to antisocial behaviour are always strongest when they come from the community and partners working together; enforcement is important, but often as part of a number of approaches, and rarely the first one to be used.
I encourage you to speak to your local Policing Team. The PCSOs are there to listen to the local community and help bring partners together to problem solve and ensure everyone plays their part in keeping the Deepings safe.