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Tor Bay Harbour

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Enforecement policy

One of the functions of Tor Bay Harbour Authority is to act as a regulator and enforcer for a range of legal duties and powers contained in Acts of Parliament, Regulations and Orders (including various harbour byelaws).

The purpose of enforcement is to regulate the use of the harbour and harbour estate to enable business to be conducted efficiently and safely; thereby protecting harbour users, local residents and visitors to Tor Bay Harbour and safeguarding the environment. Enforcement is a very broad term that covers a large spectrum of work and includes offering advice and information through to bringing prosecutions for more serious offences.

The Tor Bay Harbour Authority team is responsible for a range of harbour and marine legislation. This policy details the standards and guidelines that will apply when the harbour officers undertake their regulatory duties.

Aims

The Harbour Authority will:

In doing so it will act in accordance with national guidance and standards and any supplementary local policies.

Guiding Principles

The Guiding Principles that the Harbour Authority will have regard to when undertaking their regulatory and enforcement role are:

Clear Standards

Consistency

Consistent enforcement action is desirable, but uniformity in approach would not always recognise individual circumstances. We will encourage consistency of approach by :-

Targeting and Proportionality

We will not initiate formal enforcement procedures without a clear need to do so. We believe that through a positive, proactive approach, we can achieve higher compliance rates and better overall outcome than by using reactive enforcement action.

Any formal enforcement procedures will:

Our greatest enforcement effort will be where an assessment shows that both:

  1. A compliance breach or breaches would pose a serious risk; and
  2. There is a high likelihood of non-compliance.

Monitoring

To ensure that this policy is effective, a number of monitoring and feedback mechanisms will be utilised:

Working with Others

The Harbour Authority will work closely with other Council services and our aim is to provide a streamlined service to you. 

We are part of a much wider regulatory system in Torbay and have good working relationships with other regulators such as the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, Environment Agency, Police, etc and this enables us to have a much more joined up and consistent service.  This includes sharing information and data on compliance and risk, where the law allows, to help target regulatory resources.

Prosecution policy

As stated above the decision to prosecute is a serious one, having implications for the defendant, for witnesses, sometimes for the Harbour Authority and wider still, for the consistent and effective maintenance of standards. Prosecution will be considered only when:

Prosecution will normally be in the public interest when one or more of the following criteria are satisfied:

  1. Unlawful acts or omissions have seriously or repeatedly compromised the safe and efficient use of the harbour/harbour estate or the environment;
  2. The offending created/posed a risk to public safety or to the environment;
  3. Through blatant action or inaction risks causing pollution have been exacerbated;
  4. Where there is disregard for safe practice;
  5. The offence involves a failure to comply in full or in part with a statutory notice, including a Harbour Master’s direction;
  6. The offender has relevant previous convictions or has been cautioned for a relevant matter;
  7. The offender has flagrantly breached harbour bye-laws or other harbour legislation and has ignored advice or requests to remedy breaches of such legal requirements;
  8. The offender obstructs an Officer of the Harbour Authority carrying out statutory duties or where the offence involves the failure to supply information or the supply of false or misleading information upon lawful request;
  9. The offence, whether or not serious in itself, is widespread in Tor Bay Harbour;
  10. The Harbour Authority is under a statutory duty to enforce legislation.

The above list is not exhaustive and the decision of whether to prosecute will be taken having regard to the legal proceedings sheet and the individual circumstances of each case.

Regard will be had to the Code for Crown Prosecutors at all stages of proceedings.

Legal proceedings decision sheet
For Prosecution ( = -1 ) Against Prosecution ( = +1 )
Serious Incident Minor Incident
Deliberate act or potential to cause injury or damage through reckless disregard. Unforeseeable/Accidental / Minor error of judgement
Inadequate control systems in place. Adequate control systems in place.
Previous advice already given to the company / individual. No precise information given by the harbour authority previously.
Company/individual aware of the risk involved in their action. Company/individual could not have been aware of the risk involved in their action.
Management/supervisor responsible for the incident. Employee or supplier responsible for the incident.
Poor confidence in management / individual. Good confidence in management / individual.
Previous prosecution for a similar offence. First offence.
No remedial action taken / proposed. Remedial action already taken.
Management / individual obstructive in the investigation. Management / individual co-operative with the investigation.
Attempt to cover up the true facts. Attitude open and honest.
Harbour Authority/Council reputation tarnished if prosecution is not pursued. Prosecution may be seen as over zealous enforcement.
Prosecution will secure definite results, e.g. raise harbour safety standards No obvious improvements in standards will result from prosecution.
Prosecution will resolve an important legal issue. Prosecution will not clarify a legal issue.
Harbour Authority identified problems on a previous occasion. Harbour Authority did not identify problems on a previous occasion.

If statements in column 1 are true, score -1.

If statements in column 2 are true, score +1.

If neither statements are true, or not applicable, score nil.

A total minus score will favour a prosecution.

However, a prosecution must be justifiable by a logical argument, including such reasons as:

  1. the protection of employees or members of the public;
  2. to remedy deficiencies due to incompetent or irresponsible activities.

We welcome your feedback at any time.