Council enforcers trained to help businesses stub out smoking in public

Thousands of council staff are being trained to police the smoking ban in bars, restaurants and shops in England.

The government has made about £29.5m available to pay for staff training. They will be able to give on-the-spot fines of £50 to individuals and take court action against premises.

The smoking ban is due to come into force on 1 July. It covers virtually all enclosed public places including offices, factories, pubs and bars.

Businesses are liable for £200 fines if proper signs are not displayed and fines of £2,500 if they refuse to enforce the ban.

Local authorities have been given the power to enforce the ban so it does not consume police time.

A government-funded course is expected to train 1,200 council officers in the next few months with more expected to follow later.

But Simon Clark, director of smokers’ lobby group Forest, criticised the plans.

“The idea of getting public officials to snoop on people is distasteful and disproportionate,” he said.

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