Audience: residents and visitors
The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced a number of changes to the ways that Councils and the Police can deal with local anti-social behaviour issues. Among the changes is the replacement of the Designated Public Place Order, Gating Orders, and Dog Control Orders with the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
A PSPO can be used to regulate activities in public places that have a detrimental effect on the local community. They can help by giving local councils and police additional powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in specific locations.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council is considering adding to the conditions of the Public Spaces Protection Order in Bury St Edmunds to help us address issues that have been raised by members of the public regarding street begging.
The borough council is also considering new offences under the PSPO in relation to controlling dog behaviour and alcohol related anti-social behaviour.
Each proposed condition is explained below and we want to get your thoughts as to whether you think this is an appropriate use of a PSPO.
The request to acknowledge street begging has come from members of the public and local businesses who have reported feeling intimidated by persistent and often aggressive beggars in Bury St Edmunds town centre. Reports have been made to both Suffolk police and the council. The council therefore wish to respond to the community by opening discussion on this topic in the form of a consultation. We want to know whether you feel this is an appropriate use of a PSPO and whether you agree with the suggestions made. We also want to know your personal experiences of the issues mentioned, the effect it has had on you and whether you feel this method will ensure greater compliance.
Our work on this issue is linked with Suffolk Police’s ‘Your Kindness Could Kill’ campaign. The campaign encourages local residents who want to help the homeless to give money responsibly and support local charities. Recent work by Suffolk Police found that the beggars who were being reported by members of the public suffer with drug and alcohol dependencies. There is therefore a risk that giving money directly to beggars could be used to fund addictions and potentially lead to an overdose.
The council and Suffolk Police are committed to ensuring homeless individuals receive appropriate support. The PSPO will therefore be used to ensure compliance rather than enforcement.
The order does not mean that an individual will be fined ‘on the spot’ when found begging by the police but rather, initial contact will involve signposting to relevant support agencies. It is only when the begging is persistent and continuing that further action will be taken.
Furthermore, the PSPO will not be in effect for more than three years and can be reviewed at any time.
The area in which the proposed order will apply are as designated in the map of the draft restricted area
Find out and take part in the PSPO dog control consultation