From ASBOs to Covid Marshals – the rise of council enforcement

A new report has identified a dramatic increase in council enforcement powers – yet finds that these powers lack basic checks to ensure they are used fairly and consistently.

The report – ‘From ASBOs to Covid Marshals – Are councils becoming too much like the police?‘, was published on Friday 18 June.

Read the report here.

See the data tables for this report.

Josie Appleton, Manifesto Club director and report author, said:

“Government seems intent on piling more and more enforcement powers on local authorities, but these lack basic accountability. Government doesn’t even keep statistics on the use of these powers, let alone ensure that they are being used fairly. As well costing people money, penalisation can lead to criminal records that can affect employment and higher education opportunities. Instead of becoming second-rate police, councils should focus on their unique and important mission of improving local areas and representing the wishes of local people.”

The report is published alongside new research by Sheffield Hallam University criminologists, which found that councils were using different legal thresholds for issuing Community Protection Notices, and that there was a ‘postcode lottery’ on whether people received these orders or not.

Criminologist Dr Vicky Heap commented:

“We uncovered great variations in issuing practices, which could lead to an uneven application of the powers across England and Wales. Our work with recipients highlights the need for greater procedural safeguards to reduce disproportionality and bolster due process.”