New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour
A crackdown on anti-social behaviour in Woodston is being proposed by Peterborough City Council following numerous reports of drug dealing, discarded needles, litter, unauthorised encampments and damage to children's play areas.
Under a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which will soon go out to consultation, enforcement officers would be able to issue fines of £80 to people who drink alcohol in a public place or are caught littering, spitting, urinating or defecating in public.
In addition, adults would be banned from being present in a children’s playground unless they are accompanying a child of 14 or under, or a person who requires the attention of a recognised carer. This is to prevent drug use and damage to play equipment.
The rule would not apply to people working in an official capacity.
Fines would also be issued to people who are caught camping or lighting fires in a public place without written permission (due to concerns about unauthorised camps along the riverbank), and for people who fail to disperse when asked to do so by an authorised officer who believes they are “under the influence of an intoxicating substance” or causing alarm or distress.
Fletton & Woodston city councillor Cllr Andy Coles said he had been pushing for the proposed PSPO. He added: “We are trying to address the problem through encouragement, but we also need a bit of enforcement. We do have a problem with drug use and drug dealing at the riverside.
“I’ve picked up 306 discarded needles in 18 months. There have been needles in a park and skate park.”
The PSPO, if approved, would replace an existing order from 2010 which made it an offence for a person not to stop drinking in public, or hand over their alcohol, if instructed to do so by an officer.
The new order would also extend the boundaries, setting the northern boundary at the footpath next to the rail line, heading west to the back of Wharf Road.
The western boundary would run from the back of the Wharf Road play area down to the junction of New Road and London Road. The boundary line would then go up London Road towards Charters.
The council said UK Crime Mapping showed from March 2017 to March 2018 a total of 488 crimes were reported in the proposed PSPO area, with anti-social behaviour and violence representing 57 per cent of the incidents.
The Government introduced PSPOs in 2014. This is the third one proposed by the council. One covers the city centre and the other covers Millfield, New England, Gladstone, Eastfield, Lower Bridge Street and the Embankment.