Strong support for proposed measures to tackle anti-social behaviour in Worcester city centre
Worcester residents have shown strong support for proposed new measures to discourage the intentional feeding of gulls, aggressive begging, and dangerous cycling and skateboarding in the city centre.
The City Council has proposed the introduction of a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) that would give its officers and delegated partners the option to issue a fixed penalty fine of £100 to people in breach of the PSPO's terms.
1,176 people gave their views on the proposals during a month-long consultation which began in August 2020.Over 62% agreed with the proposed implementation of the City Centre PSPO.
Cllr James Stanley, Chair of the City Council's Communities Committee, said: "Our aim is to make sure Worcester's city centre offers a safe and pleasant environment for everyone who visits it.
"We have consulted extensively with regard to this proposed Public Space Protection Order.It is clear that there is strong local support to take tougher action to address these three issues and we will therefore move forward and implement the proposed PSPO in 2021."
Over 75% of respondents strongly agreed or agreed with the proposed offence that 'No person at any time shall provide or deposit food with the intention that it is consumed by gulls within the Restricted Areas.'
Over 66% strongly agreed or agreed with the proposed offence that 'persons are prohibited from Aggressive Begging within the Restricted Area.'
A wide range of support is available for rough sleepers in the city, delivered by the Council's partners including Caring for Communities and People (CCP), Maggs Day Centre and St Paul's Hostel.
Over 64% agreed with the proposed offence that 'No person shall cycle or skateboard in the Restricted Area in a dangerous manner that may put others at risk'.
139 people agreed that cyclists and skateboarders should be responsible for their actions – or had noticed or experienced dangerous behaviour.74 people stated there was a need either for alternative or safer facilities in the city centre for skaters and cyclists.
Over 73% of respondents either agreed, strongly agreed or expressed no preference with regard to the proposed area for the PSPO, which covers the majority of Worcester's city centre.
Over 36.5 % agreed or had no opinion about the introduction of a maximum £100 fixed penalty notice for offenders (reduced to £60 if paid within 10 days).
The majority of those who objected expressed concerns about the ability of people deemed to be aggressively begging to pay the fine.Others expressed similar concerns regarding young skateboarders and cyclists.
The Council's Youth Detached Team will work with young people in the city centre to make them aware of the potential consequences of their actions and to provide other activities as an alternative.
Over 66% of participants agreed that persistent offenders should be prosecuted – with many commenting that this should be a last resort.
A publicity campaign to promote the new PSPO will begin in February.New signs will be put up in popular open spaces and civil enforcement officers will engage with the public to make them aware that new PSPO rules will be introduced soon.Enforcement action will begin, when and where appropriate, in April 2021.