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Carmarthenshire Executive board agrees new policy to deal with anti-social behaviour

A NEW way of dealing with anti-social behaviour and breaches of council housing tenancy, such as criminal damage and prostitution, will come into force in Carmarthenshire.

It is in response to rising numbers of complaints to a council neighbourhood team, which was set up in 2018.

The team received 927 complaints in 2020-21, which was slightly down from the previous year but up from 622 the year before that.

The new policy will prioritise complaints, depending on their seriousness.

In the top category will be violence between neighbours or families, domestic violence, drug dealing and hate crimes, among others. The team will aim to deal with these within 24 hours.

The next category will include prostitution, noise complaints, alcohol-related nuisance and criminal damage. The target deadline to look into these is five days.

The final category will include unkempt gardens, nuisance children and parking issues among others, with a target deadline of 10 days.

Addressing an executive board meeting on July 26, Cllr Philip Hughes, who has the public protection portfolio, said tenants would be advised on what was required of them.

Anti-social behaviour in any form by tenants or their visitors is considered a breach of the tenancy agreement.

“Action will be taken against individuals,” said Cllr Hughes.

Dealing with anti-social behaviour was “essential,” said Cllr Linda Evans, executive board member for housing.

“Anti-social behaviour can an awful effect on any one of us,” she said.

Sanctions for anti-social behaviour and tenancy breaches include warning letters, fixed penalty notices and evictions. Mediation is another approach.

A report before the executive board said the work of the neighbourhood team was becoming more complex, and that officers were spending more time on cases such as evictions.

It also said that officers received complaints such as staring or looking at someone, one-off events like parties, and the sound of someone walking across the floor in shoes. These were not, however, considered to be anti-social behaviour issues.

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