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Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act (Northern Ireland) 2011

Chapter 1: Audible Intruder Alarms
Section 48 – Designation of alarm notification areas

This section sets out the steps that must be followed by a council wishing to designate an area as an alarm notification area.

Section 49 – Withdrawal of designation

This section enables a district council to withdraw a designation made under section 48 and sets out the steps for doing so.

Section 50 – Notification of nominated key-holders

This section requires that the responsible person in respect of premises with an audible intruder alarm within an alarm notification area must nominate a key-holder for the premises and then notify the district council of that key-holder’s name, address and telephone number. Subsection (4) makes it an offence for the responsible person to fail either to nominate or to notify within the specified time period.

Section 51 – Nomination of key-holders

This section (subsections (3) to (5)) describes who is eligible to be nominated as a key-holder. Subsection (6) provides that where a key-holder ceases to satisfy certain requirements, the responsible person must nominate a replacement. The responsible person would then, under section 50, have to notify the details of the new key-holder to the council.  Again, failure either to nominate or notify would be an offence.

Section 52 – Offences under section 50: fixed penalty notices

This section (subsections (1) and (2)) enables an “authorised officer” of a district council to issue a fixed penalty notice where it appears to that officer that an offence of failing to nominate or notify details of a key-holder has been committed, offering the offender an opportunity to discharge, by payment of a fixed penalty (within 14 days), any liability to conviction for the offence.  Who qualifies as an authorised officer is described in subsection (10).  The rest of the section sets out the effects of the fixed penalty notice, what information such a notice should contain, and procedures for payment.

Section 53 – Amount of fixed penalty

This section (subsections (2) and (3)) enables district councils to specify the amount of a fixed penalty for an offence committed in their district.  Where no amount is set by the council, the penalty amount will be £75.  In either case, a district council may treat a penalty as having been paid if a lesser amount is paid before the end of such (shorter) period as it may specify. Subsections (4) and (5) give power to the Department to make regulations governing the power of district council to set local fixed penalty rates (e.g. by specifying a range within which the amount must fall or limiting the extent and circumstances in respect of which a council may provide for reduced early payment). Under subsection (6) the Department may (by order) substitute the figure of £75 referred to above with a new amount.

Section 54 – Use of fixed penalty receipts

This section allows a district council to retain the receipts arising from fixed penalty notices issued pursuant to section 52, and specifies the functions for which the receipts may be used.

Section 55 – Fixed penalty notices: power to require name and address

This section provides an authorised officer of a district council with the power to require the name and address of a person if the officer proposes to give that person a fixed penalty notice, and makes it an offence for that person either to fail to give that information or to give false or inaccurate information.

Section 56 – Powers of entry

This section (subsections (3) and (4)) provides an authorised officer of a district council with a power of entry (but not by force) in order to silence an intruder alarm in or on premises in the council’s district where the officer is satisfied that the conditions described in subsection (2) are met.

Section 57 – Warrant to enter premises by force

This section provides that an authorised officer may enter premises using reasonable force if necessary to silence an alarm following the issue of a warrant by a lay magistrate.

Section 58 – Powers of entry: supplementary

This section makes supplementary provision where an officer of a district council enters any premises to silence an alarm either under section 56 or under a warrant issued under section 57. This includes provision allowing an officer to take other persons with him or her to the premises (subsection (3)), requiring the officer (if the premises are unoccupied or the occupier is temporarily absent) to leave a notice at the premises stating what action has been taken and securing the premises (subsection (5)), allowing a district council to recover expenses reasonably incurred by it in connection with entering the premises and silencing the alarm (subsection (7)) and ensuring that action taken in good faith by the council under these powers does not subject it to any liability (subsection (9)). Subsection (10) provides that subsection (9) does not apply so as to prevent an award of damages in respect of an act or omission on the ground that the act or omission was unlawful by virtue of section 6(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998.

Section 59 – Interpretation of this Chapter

This section relates to the interpretation of Chapter 1 of Part 6 of the Act.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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