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Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

The Council consulted between 1 July and 12 August 2016 on a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the Trent Bridge Ward and other areas of West Bridgford to address the anti-social behaviour caused by street drinking and rough sleeping, which negatively impacts upon individuals and businesses.

Following the consultation the Council made the order and a copy can be downloaded below. The order was made on 2 February 2017 and came into force on 1 March 2017.

The PSPO replaced the existing Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) regarding street drinking and is extended to include all playground areas and large open spaces owned by the Council in the whole of West Bridgford, Edwalton and Gamston.  The Order also covers the area alongside the River Trent leading to Holme Pierrepont and part of the towpath alongside the Grantham Canal.

PSPO’s were created by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are intended to deal with any nuisance or problem in a defined area that is detrimental to the local community's quality of life. A PSPO can impose restrictions on the use of an area which applies to everyone. The PSPO isn’t an order to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping – it has been brought in, with the support of key partners such as the Police and Nottinghamshire County Council, to help tackle anti-social behaviours associated with street drinking and rough sleeping, namely:

  • Vomiting, urinating and defecating in public areas
  • littering
  • violence, aggressive or intimidating behaviour
  • criminal damage.

Failure to comply with a PSPO enables authorised enforcement officers to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £100 or the person could find themselves prosecuted. A breach is a criminal offence and there is a maximum penalty of a £1,000.

FAQs: Public Space Protection Order - designated areas in West Bridgford

Frequently asked questions about the prohibition and requirement contained in the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

What is a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO)?

This is an area that can be designated by Rushcliffe Borough Council where anti-social behaviour has been causing a nuisance or annoyance. In the designated area, police, police community support officers and council officers have certain powers to help tackle anti-social behaviour, such as:

  • Vomiting, urinating and defecating in public areas
  • littering
  • violence, aggressive or intimidating behaviour
  • criminal damage.

Are there time restrictions on a PSPO?

The PSPO will be in force all day, every day. The PSPO will last for three years and can be extended, following a review.

Will there be any extra policing to enforce the PSPO?

No. The Neighbourhood Teams will continue to patrol and respond to incidents as part of their community response.

What are the benefits of a PSPO?

The main benefits of a PSPO are to help tackle anti-social behaviour associated with street drinking and rough sleeping. Begging, urinating in the street, aggressive or intimidating behaviour and litter are also linked to these behaviours.

What will the PSPO control?

The PSPO will seek to control the following forms of anti-social behaviour:

  • Consumption of alcohol in a public place
  • Anti-social behaviour associated with rough sleeping, such as:
    • Vomiting, urinating and defecating in public areas
    • littering
    • violence, aggressive or intimidating behaviour
    • criminal damage.

Consumption of alcohol in a public place

The Order stipulates that person(s) within this area surrender any alcohol in their possession to an authorised person on request, if:

  • they are found to be ingesting alcohol, or
  • they are in possession of alcohol with the intention of drinking it within this area, or
  • the authorised person has reasonable grounds to believe that such person is using or intends to drink the alcohol within the designated area.

An authorised person shall be a police constable, police community support officer or a designated Rushcliffe Borough Council Officer, who must be able to present their authorisation on request.

What are the concerns and issues with street drinking?

Street drinking is sometimes associated with anti-social behaviour, causing high levels of noise, rowdy and nuisance behaviour, harassment and intimidation of passers-by, as well as the littering of cans and bottles.

Would people still be able to drink and hold bottles outside pubs?

Yes. The PSPO does not make it illegal to drink alcohol in a public place, however, if a person was to drink beyond the legal boundary of a licensed premise and they do not stop drinking when asked to do so by a police officer or other authorised officer then they could be at risk of breaching the order.

Are licensed premises affected?

Although a PSPO would restrict alcohol consumption in a public area, the Act states that licensed premises are not affected.

What about street parties and events in parks?

 Events within a public place authorised by a licence (or a Temporary Event Notice) will be excluded from the PSPO powers.

Rough sleeping

What is the problem with people setting up tents on public spaces?

It is not that people are sleeping that is the issue, it is the fact that rough sleeping is often linked to anti-social behaviour such as:

  • Vomiting, urinating and defecating in public areas
  • littering
  • violence, aggressive or intimidating behaviour
  • criminal damage.

In addition, longstanding encampments have their own problems with litter and sanitation and that can dissuade others from using the open space.

Are rough sleepers being targeted?

No. There are support services and temporary accommodation available to people who sleep rough, but some choose not to access this support. Sleeping rough can place someone in a very vulnerable situation and it is not beneficial to their health and wellbeing. Officers enforcing the Order will be briefed to signpost rough sleepers to appropriate support services and in such instances the Council will not be issuing a fixed penalty notice.

How will the PSPO work?

Authorised officers can request people to stop drinking alcohol in the designated public places and ask them to surrender their drink, including unopened containers of drink being carried. If people refuse they can be issued a fixed penalty notice (FPN) of up to £100 and a maximum of £1000 upon prosecution.

If it was clear that an individual had no source of income, a positive requirement for them to attend a support service eg rehabilitation via a court order could be an alternative outcome to a FPN.

A PSPO is not an outright ban on street drinking. It is not an offence to consume alcohol in a public place; the offence is failing to comply with an officer’s request.

With regard to rough sleeping the PSPO will prohibit this activity in the designated area. People found breaching the PSPO can be issued a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 and a maximum of £1000 upon prosecution.

Do police already have these powers?

The police can make an arrest for street drinking related anti-social behaviour (Public Order); however it is only an offence to refuse to stop drinking/surrender the alcohol when asked where a PSPO is in operation. Where there is no PSPO in operation, it is not an offence alone to refuse to surrender alcohol, although any related anti-social behaviour can give cause for arrest.

With regard to rough sleeping, the police currently only have powers to move people on if they are causing a breach of the peace or causing an obstruction, ie sleeping in shop doorways.

Will there be signs in West Bridgford alerting people to the new PSPO?

Yes. New signs will be located in the designated area to signify that there is a PSPO in operation.

How can a homeless person afford to pay the fine associated with the new PSPO?

The PSPO is not a tool to tackle homelessness, it has been brought in to deal with some of the anti-social behaviours associated with street drinking and rough sleeping such as vomiting, urinating and defecating in public areas, littering, violence, aggressive or intimidating behaviour and criminal damage. The evidence we have of problems do not link these behaviours to homeless people but rather to groups of individuals who refuse support and have made a choice to behave antisocially.

It is also helpful to understands that a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is not a fine. Only the Courts have powers to fine and issue sanctions following a conviction. A FPN is a tool that can be used for in certain circumstances where an individual accepts that they have ‘broken the law’ but does not wish to be summoned to court and would rather pay a sum of money to discharge their liability for conviction. If an individual either has no money to pay or felt that they were innocent, then they could then appear in front of a Magistrate and plead their case. If they were found guilty then it would be up to the Courts to impose a sanction, and they would take into account their ability to pay. If they were vulnerable or in need of support, then Rushcliffe Borough Council would suggest to the court that a positive sanction would be more appropriate, for example accepting help for an addiction or engaging with Council or a charitable support service.

How will the PSPO help homeless people that display anti-social behaviour?

As stated above, this order is not intended to target the homeless. Any homeless person that did ‘display’ these behaviours would initially be encouraged to voluntarily engage with support services. If however, they refused and continued with the antisocial behaviours, we would consider enforcement action, with the intention to seek a positive outcome for the individual via a court imposed order to engage with support services, rather than suggest any financial penalty which would not be appropriate in the circumstances. In such circumstances we would not issue a FPN, but instead seek the positive requirement outcome from the Courts.

Once someone has been issued a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) and it has gone unpaid, will you be issuing more for further offences?

We would not issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to anybody that we thought had no ability to pay.

Will the Council take into account mental stability or general ability to follow these rules before issuing these FPNs? For example if a homeless person needs to go to the toilet in the middle of the night and has no access to public facilities.

Yes, of course. We would first of all try and work with any individual in these circumstances and encourage them to seek support from the relevant service or charity.