Large increase in penalties for anti-social behaviour in Lincoln

— Reporting by Jemma Coburn

The amount of Penalty Notices for Disorder (PNDs) given out in Lincoln has increased by 82% in five years, a freedom of information request reveals.

PNDs are fines issued by police to people over the age of 16 who commit low-level anti-social behaviour, such as harassment, being drunk and disorderly in public, and noise pollution.

The fines are supposed to reduce police bureaucracy and paperwork. They are not the same as criminal convictions, but failure to pay them may result in a higher fee or imprisonment.

According to the National Crime Statistics released on the 21st of January 2010 Lincolnshire is “one of the safest counties in the country.”

Neil Rhodes, deputy chief constable of Lincolnshire Police, said: “As always…we will not be complacent. We will continue to strive for improvement and can confidently assure people living in the county they are in one of the safest places in the country.”

However, low crime rates may not mean anti-social behaviour is reducing. In 2004, 563 PND fines were issued compared to 1027 in 2009.

Statistics from Lincolnshire Crime Mapping also show the average number of anti-social behaviour incidents in the area has increased from 2861.7 to 2897, which is 1.2%, compared to the same three month period last year.

One male student at the University of Lincoln, who wishes to remain anonymous, lives on Newland Street West with two other males. They have had four letters from Lincoln City Council, saying their level of noise pollution is disturbing other people.

He said: “They sent us these letters and the police came round one time but that doesn’t stop us.”

The students recently received another letter explaining that if they do not stop disturbing the neighbourhood with their music, they could be taken to court.

“If we got a fine I don’t think it would stop us, I’ve been kicked out my previous house because of noise, but I’m still noisy here. It depends how much the fine was, it might stop us for a while,” he says.

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