Agenda item

Pre-Decision Scrutiny - Proposal for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Redditch Town Centre

This report will follow in an Additional Papers pack once the report has been published for consideration of the Executive Committee (due for publication on Monday 27th November 2023).


The Community Safety Manager presented a report which detailed a proposal to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Redditch Town Centre.


The Committee was advised that the report detailed the proposed wording of the order, the geographic location in which the PSPO would apply and the data that had informed the proposal.  Partner organisations, including West Mercia Police, had been consulted and an equality impact assessment had been undertaken. The proposed PSPO had the support of the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and would help to tackle anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the town centre.


The Committee was informed that risks associated with the introduction of PSPO included the risk that public expectations would be raised by the Order, which agencies might not be able to meet. To this effect, it was explained that discussions had been held and would continue with the Police Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT) who were the primary agency for enforcement of the Order. The impact and effectiveness of the PSPO would also be monitored via the Town Centre Operational Group and Safer Redditch, where any issues or adjustments would be discussed as part of a multi-agency problem solving approach.


Another risk arising from the Order was that the introduction of a PSPO could displace ASB perpetrators to more residential locations outside of the proposed restricted area. This issue had been considered by the operational group and discussions had been held with support agencies and local charities to identify alternative, more appropriate spaces that people affected by the order could be directed toward. The proposed restricted area follows the footprint of previous Designated Public Places Orders (DPPO) and

PSPOs and historically there had been no reported increases of ASB in residential areas as a result of an Order being in place.


Once the report had been presented, Members discussed the following points in detail:


·       Impact of PSPO on licensed activities in the town centre - It was explained that PSPO did not impact on licensed activities as these were two separate sets of legislation and requirements. The PSPO enabled an early intervention action to be taken if somebody engages in anti-social behaviour (ASB) as a result of attending an event, however, the restrictions and guidance on PSPO specifically exclude any licensed premise or licensed activity.

·       PSPO and restriction on drinking in public spaces – It was explained that the PSPO would not make it illegal to drink alcohol within the boundary of a licensed premise. It only related to a public space so if a person was drinking outside of the boundary of the licensed premise and begins to commit ASB, and do not comply with the requests of the authorised officer, then they could be at risk of enforcement action. It was noted that PSPO also did not make it illegal to carry or drink alcohol in a public space, as long as someone was drinking responsibly and not affecting other users of the space.

·       Gating of the alleyways in the Town Centre – It was noted that the gating of alleyways within Church Green Conservation Area had been considered with the informal conversations with businesses in that area revealing they were in favour of a key or a numbered lock access to the alleyway rather than permanent closure. However, due to legal considerations around liability and timescales for proceeding with PSPO proposal, it was decided not to take action with regards to the gating order for the time being. It is expected that the PSPO alongside current restrictions would resolve the majority of the ASB problems in the alleyways area. However, if the risks in those locations persisted after the introduction of PSPO, the Council would revisit the process.

·       Feedback on recent use of a 48 hour dispersal order in Redditch – Officers explained that this was a power available to the police, which could be implemented by the district inspector. It was noted that the recent use of a 48-hour dispersal order was as a result of significant concern around anti-social behaviour in the area around Unicorn Hill and the train station, and with this in mind, it was the district inspector’s decision to implement that dispersal order. It was noted that a PSPO, if agreed for implementation, would eliminate the need for issuing temporary dispersal orders as similar powers were available to the Police under the PSPO as under the dispersal order.

·       Dispersal locations for repeat ASB offenders in the proposed PSPO area – It was noted as mentioned in the presentation that there was a risk that ASB perpetrators could be dispersed to other locations as a result of PSPO. Conversations were being undertaken with the Ecumenical Centre in Redditch, as well as the providers of Council commissioned services, to provide support services, engage with the offenders and direct them to more appropriate spaces. It was noted that it was a relatively small core group of people which were causing ASB issues within the area of the proposed PSPO and who were mostly known to the statutory agencies. The Order was around behaviours and, if ASB problems persisted, enforcement action would be taken against offenders. However, it was a staged approach whereby there was an educational and support offer in the first instance.

·       Data around ASB in the Town Centre – It was reported that currently Tuesday afternoons and Friday evenings/Saturday mornings were the times of the week with higher reported anti-social behaviour. Currently, it was difficult for the analyst team to find reasons as to why Tuesdays afternoons saw a higher incidence of ASB.

·       Concerns about the ability of the Police to enforce PSPO – It was noted that one of the responses to the Redditch Borough Council’s consultation on the PSPO detailed the difficulties that Shropshire Council was having with the enforcement and administration of their PSPO in Shrewsbury town centre. It was commented that the response details how despite notices being issued under the PSPO, very few were being prosecuted in Shropshire. Officers responded that the response in part alluded to the specific difficulties experienced in Shropshire, however, Members were assured that significant conversations had taken place within the Council’s Safer Neighbourhood Team and with the Police. It was believed that in Redditch the PSPO would significantly reduce the restrictions around enforcement and prosecution and would enable agencies to intervene much earlier and take action to reduce likelihood of significant harm incidents taking place. The Community Safety Manager added that colleagues at Shropshire Council would be contacted for their feedback.

·       It was clarified that at the moment, if implemented, only Police Officers would have the power to enforce under PSPO. However, the Order provided for specific Council officers to be granted enforcement powers if authorised by the Council. It was noted that there would be discussions with senior officers and Members as to whether that becomes necessary at the review stage of the PSPO.

·       It was highlighted that PSPO would not criminalise young people socialising or spending time in larger groups in the Town Centre. The PSPO was targeted at behaviours and would criminalise people from drinking and then causing ASB nuisance and would also enable Police Officers to enforce against possession and use of Psychoactive Substances, for example Nitrous Oxide.

·       Potential for changing the boundaries (or expanding) the PSPO zone – It was explained that any changes to the PSPO boundary would require a review of the existing PSPO. The proposed PSPO, if accepted, would come in place for a period of three years but there was an option to review at any time within that period. The review process would require any boundary change proposals to go through public consultation and through the committee process.

·       Members expressed concern with the possible levels of Police attendance to ASB events and hoped that this would improve considerably with the introduction of the PSPO in the Town Centre. It was asked that feedback on the enforcement of the proposed PSPO order be shared at next year’s meeting of the Crime and Disorder Scrutiny Panel.




a Public Space Protection Order to restrict Antisocial Behaviour related to Alcohol and Misuse of Psychoactive Substances be implemented.


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