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Case Studies

PSPO round-up

Basildon has a borough-wide Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). A PSPO is set by a council typically to counter anti-social behaviour (ASB) in a specific area, typically dog fouling in parks or on-street drinking in town centres. A breach of the order is a criminal offence which can be subject to a fine. Basildon’s includes a ban on car cruising in Festival Leisure Park, Mayflower Retail Park, and Pitsea Town Centre, and use of any motor vehicle (including e-scooter) in 15 borough parks including Gloucester Park, Lake Meadows, and Northlands Park.

The PSPO also bans any open container of alcohol in Basildon and Pitsea town centres and consumption of alcohol anywhere in the borough where it is causing ASB. It will also prohibit the use of pony and traps in Cranfield Park, Northlands Park, and Wickford Barn Hall Recreation Ground.

A recent report to the council stated that the council and police are very alive to the issues associated with drinking alcohol in Basildon and Pitsea town centres . The authorities have worked together on the issue ‘over a number of years’. As with any PSPO, it provides ‘authorised persons’ with the powers to issue fixed penalty notices to those who are causing a nuisance such as on-street drinkers. Hence the council has awarded a one-year contract for a Community Safety Warden scheme. The supplier will respond to reports of antisocial behaviour in high profile locations (including on estates) and undertake patrols in the town centres, parks and open spaces within the PSPO, the council says.

As for the ban on e-scooters – a nationwide nuisance – Basildon has rental e-scooter on trial, as the use of rented E-scooters is now legal within the terms of the national trial scheme, a report told councillors. “It is considered that the controls applied to the hire of E-scooters within the pilot scheme are sufficient to significantly reduce the potential for there to be a detrimental impact such as rider vetting, GPS controls and enforcement, alongside the physical elements, speed restrictions, lights.”

Enforcement action can be taken against rider behaviour, whether riding a private or rental E-scooter, if they are ridden on footways, if using a mobile phone, riding through red lights, drink driving offences. E-scooters can be seized under section 59 of the Police Reform Act if they are being used in public in an anti-social manner. A report suggested that the PSPO ‘increases the ability of authorised persons to deal with the nuisance’, by asking riders to dismount and/or issuing fines.

As with other wide-ranging orders, or any crime prevention measure, there is the risk of merely displacing the problem elsewhere. As for nearby councils, Thurrock brought in a three-year PSPO restricting car cruising among other things in December 2021. Southend has PSPOs restricting various behaviours. Castlepoint Council is considering a PSPO to deal with vehicle anti-social behaviour (including car cruising). Visit https://www.castlepoint.gov.uk/pspo-canvey-island.

Chair of Safer Basildon and Chief Executive of Basildon Council Scott Logan said: “The PSPO will provide additional powers to authorised officers to support our partners such as Essex Police in tackling issues of ASB, and will help to make our public spaces in Basildon such as our parks, open spaces, and town centres places for everyone to enjoy safely.

“Thank you to everyone that shared their views as part of the consultation, and with 92 per cent of respondents being in support of banning each aspect of the PSPO it shows that residents are supportive of our efforts to tackle the behaviour we don’t want to see in Basildon.”

Basildon’s PSPO is in place as of April 2022 and will last for three years until March 2025.

Mendip District Council is considering a PSPO for management of unauthorised encampments at Glastonbury as a centre for mystics and the alternative lifestyle. The council says that the town has a disproportionately high number of vehicle dwellers, compared to its size – fewer than 9,000 people. At a peak in December 2021, close to 200 lived-in vehicles were in the rural town, the council says. The council says that it wants to restore balance to the area. Details of the proposed PSPO at: www.mendip.gov.uk/pspo.

Meanwhile Cambridge City Council is extending two of its PSPOs for a further year.

One PSPO is unusual to the city, covering touting in the city centre. That order began in 2016 against verbally advertising or soliciting for custom by punt tour operators due to visitor complaints of hassling. The other covers the consumption and open carrying of alcohol in Mill Road Cemetery, the front of Ditchburn Gardens and Petersfield Green.

Alex Collis, Cambridge council’s Executive Councillor for Open Spaces, Sustainable Food and Community Wellbeing, said: “I’m pleased that these two PSPOs will be extended, as both have been effective in reducing antisocial behaviour. It’s important that local communities have the option of using this carefully targeted measure to tackle behaviour which is affecting the quality of life where they live, work or spend time.”

The utility company Yorkshire Water has some of its sites covered by PSPOs, and disposable barbeques are not permitted on any of its property. Gaynor Carpenter, head of land and property at Yorkshire Water, said: “With half-term upon us and a number of Bank Holiday weekends ahead it is important visitors to our reservoirs do not take risks by using disposable barbecues or entering the water. We’ve recently seen the very real dangers fires caused by barbecues pose to our moorland, which can take hundreds of years to recover.

“It is also important visitors to our sites remain vigilant around the water, particularly parents with children who may be tempted to enter the water.

“We work hard to ensure our sites can be enjoyed by visitors from the region and beyond and it is important people leave the sites as they found them so they can be enjoyed by others in the warmer weeks and months to come.”

Background

PSPOs were introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Pictured: Vista diagram at Glastonbury Tor.


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