The report of the Director – Neighbourhoods is attached.
The Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Safety, Councillor Inglis presented the report of the Director - Neighbourhoods, outlining proposals to amend and renew the Council’s Public Spaces Protection Order (General ASB).
Councillor Inglis stated that the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, provided powers for local authorities to introduce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to address anti-social behaviour (ASB) in public places, and this report sought approval to amend and renew the Council’s PSPO, which had previously been supported by this Council on it last review in 2020.
Council was advised that due to changes in the law, and the latest crime trends it was considered necessary to slightly amend the existing PSPO, by renewing the Order for restrictions on street drinking and removing the existing prohibition on outdoor sleeping but to include certain additional restrictions and prohibitions as specified in Paragraph 4.3 of this report. Details of the areas covered by the Order, were outlined in Appendix 4 of the report.
Councillor Inglis stated that to utilise the powers referred to in the Order, the Council had to be satisfied, on reasonable grounds that activities carried out in a public space would have or were likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality; be persistent or continuing in nature; be unreasonable; and justify the restrictions imposed.
Council noted that as the Vagrancy Act had now been repealed, it was proposed to remove the prohibition on outdoor sleeping, although Councillor Inglis advised that the Council still faced other ASB issues, which the proposed PSPO would seek to control, based on current complaints and incidents, with details of the five targeted matters outlined in Paragraph 4.3 of the report.
Councillor Inglis referred to the consultation period, and the overwhelming positive public response, as detailed in Appendix 2 of the report, and confirmed that it was fully endorsed by Inspector Lawton, who led the Neighbourhood Police team, and the Crime Commissioner.
Councillor Inglis concluded by advising that he felt satisfied that the changes were relevant to the Act, proportionate and current, and that the renewed PSPO was needed, as it was not just an enforcement tool but a strong deterrent in a preventative way and provided officers with a means of dealing with offenders quickly and effectively. He also mentioned that the recent Safer Streets funding allocation to the Trent Bridge Ward had enabled the Council to provide extra patrols specifically targeting ASB and crime and to fund re-deployable CCTV cameras.
In seconding the recommendation, Councillor Cottee confirmed that he was very happy to endorse this proposal, as it was important that the Council could effectively deal with any ASB, which spoilt the enjoyment for the majority who both lived in and visited Rushcliffe. Councillor Cottee felt that the Council needed to portray a positive image that ASB would not be tolerated in Rushcliffe and this PSPO would go a long way to ensure that was the case.
Councillor Bansal confirmed that the Labour Group would support the proposed changes as he considered that the safety of residents was a priority and ASB was unacceptable. Councillor Bansal reminded Council that mental health issues were on the rise and many people needed support.
Councillor Jones was pleased that this would continue to apply to parks, including Sharphill Wood, which in his experience was very difficult to police, and that the reference to rough sleeping had been removed. Councillor Jones confirmed that the Liberal Democrat Group would be supporting the motion.
Councillor R Mallender thanked officers for the useful updates and stated that the Borough was fortunate that cases were low, although they did occur, and he was happy to support the motion.
In supporting the motion, Councillor Thomas advised that she would like to see more emphasis on providing help and assistance to people who found themselves in unfortunate situations, given that some ASB was deliberate, whilst some was due to circumstances. Councillor Thomas stated that she knew that officers were very sensitive to such issues, and also suggested that enforcement needed to be across the Borough and not just in West Bridgford.
It was RESOLVED that the amended Public Spaces Protection Order (General ASB) as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be approved and take effect from 2 December 2022.