Friday, 28 April 2017

Public Spaces Protection Orders

Dear residents,

At present Waltham Forest Council is consulting on the introduction of Public Spaces Protection Orders. If you would like to take part on the consultation, you need to look at the below link and give comments directly by 23rd April. Apologies for the late notice from me, due to the Easter holidays.  You will see the proposal is for the William Morris ward to be included. I think this will be particularly relevant to residents in some areas of our ward, including the park and to Greenleaf/ Hoe Street area.

Public Spaces Protection Order – London Borough of Waltham Forest
Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Public Spaces Protection Order?
A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was established by the Anti-Social Behaviour Policing and Crime Act 2014.  The Council has the power to implement a PSPO where its purpose is to stop individuals or groups committing anti-social behaviour in a public space.  The PSPO replaces Dog Control Orders, Gating Orders and Alcohol Restriction Zones.  These remain in force until 20 October 2017 when they all revert to PSPOs but with the identical enforcement powers and restrictions as the current orders.
Who can make a PSPO?
Councils can issue a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) after consultation with the Police, Police and Crime Commissioner, other relevant bodies, local businesses and residents. The emphasis is on localism.
What behaviour can be restricted?
The behaviour restricted has to be having, or be likely to have, a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality;
• be persistent or continuing in nature; and
• be unreasonable.
What behaviour is the council seeking to restrict
Spitting in the street, littering, aggressive begging, drinking in the street and public places and congregation of people associated with drugs and nuisance.
Why has the Council selected these issues in particular to consult on?
These are issues that have been identified by the Council and the partners that we work with to address problems around anti-social behaviour. They have been generated from complaints and issues raised by members of the public, businesses and key stakeholders and are associated with issues of public safety, threatening behaviour and intimidation. Some of these relate to long standing issues and can be quite complex in nature.

When is the consultation taking place?
The consultation will start on the 27 March 2017 and you have until the 23 April 2017 to participate.
How will the decision be made?
The survey responses will be analysed and the results reported back to the Council. There has already been a great deal of evidence gathered that has highlighted the impact on individuals and businesses of the types of incidents that the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is trying to address. The Council has delegated the decision whether to implement a PSPO to the Deputy Leader & Environment Portfolio Holder- Cllr Clyde Loakes-  and the Strategic Director of Neighbourhoods and Commercial Services.
Why is a Public Space Protection Order needed?
PSPO legislation allows a Council to address a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local community’s qualify of life. A PSPO works by imposing conditions on the use of that area which apply to everyone. They are designed to ensure that local residents can use and enjoy public spaces, safe from anti-social behaviour which includes threatening and intimidatory behaviour. There is a link on the web page to a guidance document that was published by the Home Office.
Why were the areas selected and should the areas for the Order not be increased?
When selecting the areas for the proposed PSPO, the decision was based on the locations where we were aware the incidents we are seeking to restrict were occurring and the evidence existed.  The purpose of the consultation is to ensure that we have identified the right areas and issues.  Please let us know  if you don’t think we have got this right.
What is aggressive begging?
All begging is a criminal offence and some of the most vulnerable in our society resort to this activity to support themselves in desperate circumstances.  Passive begging or gathering alms can include sitting at a location with a cup or other item placed nearby to collect money / alms.  However we intend to use the PSPO to target ‘Aggressive Begging’ only. This can include persistent and aggressive begging and pursuing  a resident in an attempt to secure money, using threatening behaviour or language, placing themselves at or near a cash point and using intimidating behaviour, to secure funds.
Is there not already legislation to deal with some of these issues already?
Fixed penalty notices to the value of £80 can be issued by Community Support Officers, Council Officers and agents with delegated authority for public urination, defecation and litter only.  Police and Community support officers can seize alcohol from street drinkers only.  And only Police Officers can deal with aggressive beggars.
The PSPO permits Police Officers, Community Support Officers, Council Officers and delegated agents to issue fixed penalty notices to a value of £100 and seize alcohol from street drinkers.  It will therefore provide for broader enforcement opportunities and resources to be deployed to complement existing powers, at a time when police resources are being stretched.
How is the PSPO going to be enforced? Is there not a danger that you could be accused of picking on some of the most vulnerable people in our society?
No. There will be a Waltham Forest PSPO Enforcement Protocol in place that will provide guidance to those authorised to enforce the PSPO, especially in handling some of the more complex situations that they may come across. We also have a duty and responsibility to the residents going about their day to day business in and the businesses in these areas.
How long is a PSPO in force for?
A PSPO is in force for 3 years from the date it is implemented.  Any changes to the PSPO area or additional restrictions will require further consultation. 
Where do I go for more information?

Information about Public Spaces Protection Orders can be found in section 2.6 of the Home Office document Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014: Reform of anti-social behaviour powers. 

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