FIFE’S courts are being encouraged to use the full strength of their anti-social behaviour sentencing powers by a Levenmouth councillor.
Speaking at a meeting of loca area councillors at Carberry House, Leven, Councillor Andrew Rodger said levels of anti-social behaviour taking place, inside houses in particular, was an area of concern to him.
Currently the courts have the right to sentence somebody convicted of an anti-social crime for up to five years, but Cllr Rodger has argued this is all too rarely put into action.
This, claims the councillor, is not good enough and he wants the courts to offer some respite to those living with the daily scourge of nuisance behaviour on their own doorsteps.
He said: “One area that still concerns me is anti-social behaviour taking place in houses.
“We can send people to jail for five years for this but we still have those who cause distress for their neighbours; it can drag on for years for some people.
“I know of one man who lives in the area who goes to his work on a Monday and then comes back on a Friday and causes mayhem.
“I’ve also been targeted in my role as chair of the licensing board by this man and he keeps getting away with it.
“I’ve said it before - we need to get sheriffs down into our streets and spend some time here and see these sorts of things for themselves.”
The councillor also hit out at the time it can take for reports to be prepared after sentencing, saying this often results in the offender simply getting “off the hook”.
In response, temporary Chief Inspector Graeme Kinmond told the committee that officers were actively trying to address the issue of anti-social behaviour within homes in Levenmouth.
Dedicated community safety officers and a force ‘hit-team’ are doing what they can to help ease issues locally by bringing people into custody, he said.
Chief Inspector Kinmond added: “In my time here, I’d like to think we’ve seen a reduction in the amount of long-term offending.
“We do have to work within certain limitations with this kind of offending, but I do think it’s getting better.
“One of the problems we’ve had, for instance, is one resident who complained to housing about an issue but they refused to speak to us about it.
“We need people to come to us with these kind of problems.”