Council officers have been granted more power to tackle anti-social behaviour.

North Devon's five Environmental Protection officers have received accreditation from Devon and Cornwall Police's Community Safety Accreditation Scheme.

Chief constables are now able to grant people with a limited range of legal powers in order to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Among those legals powers are accessing and sharing information with the police, requesting names and addresses of people, issuing fixed penalty notices and stopping and directing traffic.

The main benefits include increasing uniformed presence on the streets, and reductions in local issues such as street drinking, begging and dog fouling, saving police time to deal with low-level crime and disorder and promoting partnership working and exchange of information helping to reduce crime and improve community safety.

North Devon Council leader, Councillor David Worden, said: "This new accreditation will greatly assist our officers in their work tackling anti-social behaviour and environmental crimes.

"We want local communities to feel safe in their neighborhoods and to know that things are being done to keep them safe."

Partnership superintendent Claire Armes said: "The scheme reinforces our commitment to work in partnerships with local organisations to provide a safer community and improve the quality of life in Devon and Cornwall, allowing these organisations to be recognised as part of the extended policing family."

"They are not a replacement for our neighbourhood policing team, but work in partnership to complement each other's work.

Community Safety Accreditation Scheme manager Becki Brodest added: "There are a number of benefits of the scheme including reassurance to members of the community of the training and vetting completed by officers.

"It also allows communication and improved relationships between the police and partner agencies to tackle anti-social behavior and other low-level crime and disorder, which impacts significantly upon communities across Devon and Cornwall.

"The accreditation of limited but targeted powers allow those accredited to be more effective in the role they already undertake, but more importantly assists with ensuring safe communities for all to live, work and visit."

More information about community safety, including how to report anti-social behaviour, is on the council's website www.northdevon.gov.uk/asb