Councillors to act on proposals to address anti-social behaviour in Worcester’s city centre
Worcester City Council is considering introducing new measures to discourage the intentional feeding of gulls; aggressive begging and dangerous cycling and skateboarding in the city centre.
Members of the City Council's Communities Committee, which meets on Tuesday 10 March, will review the findings of a 12-week public consultation on the potential introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which ran in 2019.They will then decide whether to move forward with proposals, subject to the outcome of a further four-week consultation period.
If introduced, the PSPO would give City Council officers and delegated partners the option to issue a Fixed Penalty Fine of £100 to people in breach of the PSPO's terms.
The 2019 consultation asked people for their views on the potential adoption of a city centre PSPO to curb perceived anti-social behaviour in six areas:urinating and defecating in a public place; feeding gulls; aggressive begging; people under the influence of drugs and legal highs; skateboarding and cycling in pedestrianised areas and sitting or standing for the purposes of begging.
Following detailed analysis of the consultation responses, councillors will now consider whether to progress proposals for a PSPO which focuses on three areas:prohibition of the intentional feeding of gulls; aggressive begging and dangerous cycling and skateboarding in the city centre.
"Councillors and the public have differing views on these proposals – but we all want to make sure that Worcester's city centre offers a safe and pleasant environment," says Cllr Lynn Denham, Deputy Chair of Worcester City Council's Communities Committee.
"The latest report to the Communities Committee and the draft PSPO have been carefully written, making it clear that that a zero-tolerance approach will not be taken.In many cases issuing a fixed penalty notice would be a last resort, after an individual had repeatedly failed to change their behaviour or engage with support on offer."
A wide range of support is available for homeless people in the city, delivered by the Council's partners including Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Maggs Day Centre and St Paul's Hostel.
A 24 hour centre at Worcester's Salvation Army Centre provides intensive 24/7 support to rough sleepers who have shown a clear commitment to coming off the streets.A team of four people is employed to proactively go out and engage with rough sleepers on Worcester, offering them accommodation and support to address a range of complex needs.
The City Council's PSPO proposals state that the authority would not be seeking to issue a fixed penalty notice to anyone who doesn't have the means to pay.For example in the case of aggressive begging, the Council would have the option to apply for a court order, directing the individual to engage with the support services being offered as a outcome.
Note to editors
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO's) were first introduced in 2014 by way of the Anti-social Behaviour (ASB), Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Rather than targeting specific individuals or properties, they focus on identified problem behaviour(s) in a specific location. They can send a clear message that certain behaviours are deemed unacceptable.
A PSPO can last for up to three years, after which it must be reviewed. PSPOs must balance the rights of the community to enjoy public spaces without ASB, with the civil liberties of individuals and groups who may be affected by any restrictions imposed.
An individual who has received a fixed penalty notice has the opportunity to appeal.