Review of PSPOs in parks and opens spaces
A proposal to review the Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) introduced in a number of the city’s open spaces and the seafront is being discussed by councillors next week.
Following public consultation, a number of PSPOs were introduced along the seafront and in 11 of the city's parks and open spaces in 2017 to help ensure people could enjoy public spaces safe from anti-social behaviour.
These PSPOs come to an end on 31 December.
A report to the Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee on 21 November recommends reviewing the orders to look at whether to re-introduce them as they are, alter the areas or prohibitions included, or look at the use of alternative legal powers.
If approved, the review will take place in the new year and will include a consultation with residents.
Responding quickly to anti-social behaviour
The PSPOs were to areas where we’d had a significant number of complaints about anti-social behaviour.
They have been used as an additional tool to strengthen the council’s ability to respond to anti-social behaviour in parks and open spaces quickly and efficiently.
Cases where breaches of the order occur are looked at individually, and warning letters have proved effective in quickly resolving problems.
Since the introduction of the orders, many verbal warnings have been given and nearly 700 warning letters have been issued. These have largely led to compliance with the order.
Only five fixed penalty notices have been issued and no court action has been required.
While advice has been given to people sleeping in tents in PSPO areas where we had reports of anti-social behaviour, other support services have been used to manage problems and refer people on to support.
Reviewing the PSPOs
Councillor Alan Robins, chair of the Tourism, Equality, Communities & Culture committee, said:
“These PSPOs were introduced to help us ensure residents could use parks and open spaces free from anti-social behaviour.
“It’s never been the aim to fine people or take court action. The fact that the order is in place has often proved enough to deal with problems.
“They’ve proved to be a useful tool and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from park users and community groups about the difference they’ve made.
“As the orders come to an end, it’s right that we look at whether they are still the best way to deal with the problems we’re facing. Much has changed since they were first introduced.
“We’ll look at what the orders cover, whether they still cover the right areas and whether there are other powers that would now be better placed.
“We’ll be asking for the views of residents as part of the review process in the new year. Please look out for that to let us know what you think.”
What the PSPOs cover
The PSPOs cover the seafront from Black Rock to Hove Lagoon and the following parks and open spaces:
- Hollingbury Park
- Lawn Memorial Cemetery and adjacent land (Woodingdean)
- Preston Park
- Rottingdean Recreation Ground
- Sheepcote Valley and East Brighton Park
- St Helens Green
- Stanmer Park
- Surrenden Field
- Wild Park
It imposes prohibitions on:
- Occupying any vehicle, caravan, tent or other structure
- Driving any vehicle on grass
- Littering or fly tipping
- Lighting or maintaining a fire
- Defecating or urinating
On request by an authorised officer, police officer or police community support officer, anyone challenged needs to:
- remove any vehicle, caravan, tent or other structure within 12 hours
- disposing of items as directed
- permit a council, police or fire officer to extinguish a fire
- provide a name, address and date of birth when required to do so by a council or police officer
- Read the PSPO review report to the 21 November Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee (agenda item 24)
- Visit our parks and open spaces Public Space Protection Orders page