Somerset West & Taunton Council is consulting on a proposed new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to allow it to deal more effectively with anti-social behaviour.
A PSPO is a power under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, that allows a council to impose restrictions in particular areas to tackle nuisance or problem behaviour.
SWT is reviewing its policy in a bid to make it easier to identify and address issues in Taunton and surrounding open spaces as part of its Streetwise initiative
to ensure a joined up approach to anti-social behaviour.
The revised Public Space Protection Orders will allow the Council to tackle a broader range of anti-social behaviour in conjunction with partners, particularly the Police.
The proposed conditions would set the boundaries of what can be regarded as unacceptable behaviour, and the areas it covers which means the Council and Police can enforce measures decisively and quickly.
The new Orders could result in fixed penalty notices of £100 or fines of up to £1,000 if convicted of breaching the PSPO in court. They are not designed to make money for the Council, however, any money received in penalties is ring-fenced for Streetwise work.
Cllr Chris Booth, Executive Member for Community, said: “PSPOs are designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour.
We’ve been working with partners including the Police, to identify issues that could have a detrimental impact on people who live, work or visit the town, many of which are linked to alcohol and drug dependency.
Our aim is always to make an early intervention, and to take the opportunity to engage and improve behaviour, but no-one should have to endure behaviour that has a negative impact on them, their environment or the community in which they live or work.
The existing PSPO has been ineffective as it was unfortunately often unenforceable. We are now restarting this process and want public feedback to be a key part of helping to improve our district through enforceable rules.
We hope people will engage with the consultation process to revise the PSPO powers and help to make our county town and associated open spaces safe and welcoming.”
The consultation runs for six weeks from today (2 March) and will give members of the public a chance to put forward comments and suggestions including other locations.
The full consultation document is available to view on our website www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/pspo
Paper copies are also available at Deane House, Taunton, and West Somerset House, Williton.
Responses can be made using the online consultation portal https://yoursay.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/or by returning the paper questionnaire by freepost.