North Somerset Council's Executive agreed to introduce a number of new and amended Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) at its meeting yesterday (Thursday 11 February). They are due to come into force in April.
PSPOs were first introduced by the council in 2017 to deter individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in public places.
They are enforced by designated council staff, police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and other officers authorised by the council. Anyone breaching a PSPO is reported to the council who deal with each offence on a case-by-case basis when deciding the most appropriate action to take. This could include a written warning, restorative justice, a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75 (reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days) or, in some cases, prosecution.
The council consulted on new and amended PSPOs at the end of last year. More than 500 responses were received.
"We have listened to what residents and businesses have been telling us about issues in their local communities," said Cllr Mike Bell, the council's deputy leader and executive member for regulatory services. "As a result, we're introducing a number of new orders which will enable us to deal more effectively with a wider range of anti-social behaviour issues which are having a detrimental effect on people’s quality of life."
The new orders include no swimming at Abbots Pool nature reserve in Abbots Leigh which the council was forced to close last summer following concerns for public health and issues with environmental damage and anti-social behaviour. The new PSPO will mean swimming, bathing, wading or jumping into the pool is prohibited, including using boats, dinghies, canoes, sailboards or inflatables in or on the water.
In addition to the existing area-wide orders applying to public land in North Somerset, new orders will mean officers can take action against anyone for:
- failing to stop playing music or instruments when asked to do so
- using or driving a vehicle in a manner likely to cause alarm, harassment, distress or a public nuisance.
Warnings about inconsiderate parking which obstructs waste and recycling lorries and emergency vehicles will be issued, ahead of implementing a PSPO.
PSPOs covering children’s play areas will be extended to include skate parks with two new restrictions added prohibiting consuming alcohol and lighting a fire or barbeque.
The list of public buildings where officers can take action against someone behaving in a manner which causes annoyance or a nuisance will be extended to include leisure centres, recycling centres and venues such as the Tropicana.
PSPOs also include dog control orders aimed at encouraging responsible dog ownership. New orders will be introduced at:
- Portbury Ponds, Portbury Nature Reserve – no dogs allowed in the ecological ponds
- Court Hay playing field, Easton-in-Gordano – no dogs allowed.
Further consultation will take place on the existing dog control orders on Weston beach and on the introduction of new orders at:
- Broadcroft play area, Claverham – no dogs allowed
- Hutton Moor playing fields – all dogs on leads
- Worle recreation ground – all dogs on leads.
Cllr Bell called on local residents to be the council's "eyes and ears" on anti-social behaviour and report any problems. Residents are urged to report incidents by calling 101 or online at www.saferstrongerns.co.uk/reportasb. Always call 999 in an emergency.
More information about PSPOs can be found on the council's website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/pspo.