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Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO's) in operation in Rushcliffe

The Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) are enacted under powers given by the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. PSPO's are designed to prevent antisocial behaviour in our communities, on streets, and other publicly accessible areas.

Rushcliffe Borough Council has two active PSPO’s;

  • A PSPO was approved in 2022 in respect of dog control and is in place until 2025. It imposes restrictions/requirements on those in control of a dog with regards to
  • dog fouling,
  • having a means to pick up dog waste,
  • dogs on leads/Dogs prohibited in certain locations.

Further details can be found on the dog fouling webpage or to view the order see PSPO Dog Control with seal (PDF - 225KB)

The current PSPO includes offences/requirements relating to:

  • Refusal to stop drinking alcohol or hand over containers.
  • Refusal to remove any items left or believed to be left on land when required to do so by an authorised officer.
  • Refusal to leave the location specified when given a direction to do so by an authorised officer, subject to conditions for use:
  • Prohibition on begging for money or for any other item whether expressly or impliedly in a manner that causes or is likely to cause nuisance, annoyance, fear or distress to any other person.
  • Prohibition on spitting, urinating or defecating on land or street furniture
  • This PSPO also includes two new areas covering open spaces around Lyme Park Pond and Broadstone Close Pond in Compton Acres not included in the preceding or Rushcliffe

The Council consulted on the changes to the PSPO from the 20 September to 25 October 2022 which resulted in a significant support for the PSPO.

Details of the preceding PSPO’s are shown below

The PSPO replaced the existing Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) regarding street drinking.

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.

Public Spaces Protection Orders FAQs

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

Public Space Protection Order - designated areas in West Bridgford

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, begging, 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.

Outdoor 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.

The order enables authorised officer to require persons to leave the area when it is thought their behaviour is causing alarm harassment or distress. It is expected that this will allow the police and PCSO’s and other authorised officers to respond proportionately to reports from members of the public about such behaviours in a more immediate manner. Currently the authorisation of a dispersal needs to be by a police officer of at least the rank of Inspector. It is an emergency power and which although often used, does not provide for consistent messaging, nor is it a long-term solution. It is expected that the existence of this requirement in the PSPO will see a reduction in S34 authorities.

The order also states that "No person shall refuse to remove any items left or believed to be left on land when required to do so by an authorised officer". Often waste or possessions are left in public areas that are both unsightly, occupy public space that would be used by all or presents a hazard to others.

The order stipulates that where a person leaves belongings on land such as the pavement or a playing field covered by the order that these can be asked to be removed. Failure to be removed would be an offence. Such items can lead to trip hazards or block access and look unsightly. In additional can prevent the use of the land for its intended use. Where children are present this might create fear to the parents about the content. This can include tents used for sleeping, belongings left in doorways causing obstruction.

Are rough sleepers being targeted?

No. There are support services and temporary accommodation available to people who sleep outdoor, but some choose not to access this support. Outdoor sleeping 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 outdoor sleepers to appropriate support services and in such instances the Council will not be issuing a fixed penalty notice.


The order sates that “No person shall beg for money or for any other item whether expressly or impliedly in a manner that causes or is likely to cause nuisance, annoyance, fear or distress to any other person.

The order causes an offence of begging where there is an impact on the public or those in the area by an individual begging. The aim is to respond to reports from members of the public where concern has been raised and to be able to address those concerns. In certain circumstances begging can cause fear, for example if occurring near a cash point, discourage customers using a shop or facility or be intimidating. It may result in aggressive or abusive behaviour. The aim of this provision is to address such actions by individuals where a nuisance, annoyance, fear or distress is resulting from such activity

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 e.g. 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.

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.

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

Yes. Signs are required in new locations and the existing signs will be amended to show the new requirements and that there is 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, begging 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.



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