Alarm bells fines put on hold again
Posted on February 28, 2007
Enforcement of the district council's controversial burglar alarm policy has been postponed for another three months, it was announced yesterday.
It's the second time that the alarm notification area policy - which gives the council the right to fine alarm owners if they don't hand over details about their keyholders - has been put back.
A South Beds District Council spokeswoman announced that, although the policy is being viewed as a success, at council HQ more time is needed to bring it in.
Problems making householders aware of the policy and difficulties alarm holders have had finding someone to act as a keyholder have been cited as reasons for the delay.
The burglar alarm policy has been the cause of widespread discontent since the Gazette first reported that it was being introduced last year. Critics have panned the new measure, accusing the council of invading their privacy and raising concerns that the information could become a valuable resource for criminals.
Eaton Bray campaigner Alan Woolridge mounted a petition in December and publicly called on householders to refuse to hand over the information.
But the district council confirmed that, despite these reservations, 3,500 people living in South Beds have passed on contact details for the people they trust with their keys.
"We're thrilled with the response," said the council spokeswoman.The district council's envirocrime unit claims that having keyholder details on record will make it easier to silence ringing alarms quickly and cut down on the misery and noise pollution they can cause.
When the alarm notification area was first announced, people in South Beds were told that after Christmas Eve they could face a fixed fine of £80, and failure to pay within 14 days would lead to a hefty £1,000 penalty.
This was later put back until February, and now enforcement of the fines has been postponed again.
Source: Dave Burke, Dunstable Gazette, 28 February 2007
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