Public spaces are for all to enjoy

Homeless people say they prioritise hot food, dry feet and a place to sleep over getting health care.
Homeless people say they prioritise hot food, dry feet and a place to sleep over getting health care.
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A year on from the formation of the innovative Prevention and Enforcement Service (PES), efforts have been made to tackle anti-social behaviour with a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the city centre, writes Kate Firman, from the Safer Peterborough Partnership.

So what is a PSPO I hear you say? So, a PSPO gives local authorities, like Peterborough City Council - in partnership with the police - the ability to deal with anti-social behaviour in a particular location.

Usually, this anti-social behaviour is having a negative impact on the local community’s quality of life. Essentially, it sets out rules so that everyone can enjoy public spaces, such as the city centre in Peterborough.

Before the PES and the PSPO, the main responsibility for dealing with anti-social behaviour sat with the police.

However, with the introduction of the PSPO, authorised Peterborough City Council officers can now issue people with fixed penalty notices if they are engaging in anti-social behaviour.

The PSPO which covers the main Peterborough City Centre area, came in on 1st April this year. However we will not be enforcing it straight away. Why not?

The reason being that we firstly want to educate people about the conditions so they know what they can and cannot do going forward. This educational phase will last for 6 weeks until 15th May. Then from 15th May, PES officers will be handing out fines for anyone breaching the conditions of the PSPO.

So what are the conditions of the PSPO?

n Persons within the area, on the request of an authorised officer are to comply with the request to dispose of or surrender any containers of alcohol in their possession or disperse from an area.

n No urination and/or defecation in a public place other than within designated public toilets.

n No begging.

n No unauthorised cycling (i.e. in Bridge Street).

n Cyclists to dismount if requested to do so by an authorised officer if they are of the opinion that the cyclist is riding in a wanton and furious manner.

n To comply with Peterborough City Council’s code of conduct for busking.

n Any individual is to disperse from an area if requested to do so by an authorised officer if the officer is of the opinion that the individual is causing harassment, alarm or distress.

n No littering or spitting.

Since 1st April, our PES officers have been out on the streets informing members of the public about the new PSPO. In just the first 10 days of patrols, officers have spoken to over 170 members of the public, 140 of which were cyclists.

So far the feedback from members of the public has been very positive and the majority are very glad to see it in place. As many readers will know, cycling along Bridge Street is not allowed between 9am and 6pm and since our patrols we have noticed an increase in the numbers getting off their bikes and walking.

As a final message, we want all members of the community to know that anti-social behaviour is not tolerated within Peterborough. For more information about the first PSPO in our city see our website: www.peterborough.gov.uk/pspo