Anti- Social Behaviour PSPO (Margate and Ramsgate)
An anti-social behaviour PSPO has been approved for Margate and Ramsgate
The council has approved a Public Space Protection Order to restrict Anti-Social Behaviour and the deliberate misuse of public spaces within the Margate and Ramsgate town centre areas.
What is a Public Space Protection Order?
The Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced new powers for Councils to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB). One of these new powers was the ability to introduce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to restrict certain activities or behaviours within a defined area if it could be deemed such activity was having a detrimental impact on the local community.
Such orders then give Police and Council officers additional powers to then undertake enforcement action against people who cause Anti-Social Behaviour in public places.
PSPOs are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces without experiencing anti-social behaviour.
Thanet already has two orders, one for Alcohol Control which commenced November 2017 and one for Dog Control which commenced October 2017.Permalink
What has been agreed as part of this PSPO?
i)Anti-Social group congregation
All persons are prohibited from congregating as part of a group of 2 or more for such duration as specified, when directed not to do so by an authorised officer; on the basis that the behaviour is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others in the locality.
ii)Unauthorised occupation and misuse of public space
All persons are prohibited from misusing any public space, facility or installation; when directed not to do so by an authorised officer and that the behaviour is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others in the locality.
iii) Causing a deliberate nuisance to commercial premises
All persons are prohibited from causing an obstruction, nuisance or annoyance to customers, staff or members of the public accessing or leaving commercial premises.
This includes deliberately obstructing any access or egress points, so as to potentially make access to or exit from a commercial premise more difficult.
Commercial premises includes but is not limited to licensed food premises, supermarkets, independent retailers, market traders and convenience stores.
iv) Using foul or abusive language
All persons are prohibited from using foul or abusive language in such a manner that it is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any other person in any public place.
v)Excreting bodily fluids
All persons are prohibited from excreting bodily fluids, including but not limited to urinating, defecating or spitting in any public place that is not a specified toilet facility.Permalink
Why has a PSPO been introduced?
Thanet is a growing tourist destination with a number of areas to visit and socialise in. The Council works with other agencies to foster a safe and sociable experience when visiting or socialising in the district.
Whilst overall, the District is seeing a 14% reduction in ASB Thanet traditionally has higher levels of Anti-Social Behaviour when compared to other Districts in Kent. The four wards that form the two town centre areas of Margate and Ramsgate have a disproportionate amount of ASB and which constitutes over half (53%) of all ASB in the District. (Kent Police data)
During the 2017-18 financial year Anti-Social Behaviour incidents in the two town centre areas of Margate and Ramsgate have remained high and the council has received complaints from a number of people. This has been primarily due to Anti-Social group congregation and the misuse of public spaces, which has been adversely targeted towards business and commercial premises.
The Council and Police have continued to receive a high volume of complaints in these areas and have met several times to consider all available interventions to combat these problems.
A number of tactics have already been utilised in these areas in a bid to combat the Anti-Social Behaviour, which equates to over 150 separate enforcement actions. This has included; a large number of Police dispersals, the application for 3 Civil injunctions, 2 Criminal Behaviour Orders, 36 Community Protection Warnings and 8 Community Protection Notices as well as the deployment of mobile outreach and diversionary tactics to these locations. Whilst these tactics have had some impact, the two areas continue to experience significantly higher volumes of ASB than other wards.
In addition to Police reports, in the last 12 months, Thanet District Councils Community Safety Team have dealt with 239 complaints of ASB within the designated areas. In addition to this, the Council have had cause to formally take enforcement action for the misuse of public space on 23 occasions. The misuse of public space has included cycling on pavements and in pedestrianised areas when asked not to do so, spitting, urinating and defecating in public areas, jumping between buildings putting people at risk of harm, causing damage and deliberate misuse.Permalink
Who is affected?
The order, if agreed, will apply to anyone within the designated area who is continues to cause Anti-Social Behaviour . It will not affect the majority of law abiding citizens.
This order is being considered to provide officers with additional enforcement capability. It does not replace existing powers and any enforcement of this order will take an incremental approach, be proportionate and only be considered when advice and warnings have not been adhered to.
Where there is an underlying reason contributing towards the Anti-Social Behaviour, wherever appropriate support and advice will be given in the first instance.