Report of the Group Director of Services
The Group Director of Services submitted a report (previously circulated) seeking Members’ views on the renewal of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for the Town Centre, prior to its consideration at Cabinet on 22 June 2022, as part of the consultation process for the introduction of the renewal of the town centre PSPO.
It was reported that the PSPO was granted for Darlington Town Centre in 2019 to assist in dealing with issues such as nuisance behaviour, begging and anti-social drinking; that the PSPO expired in February 2022; and that the renewal of the PSPO could assist the Council, Police and partners in dealing with some of the ongoing issues.
The submitted report stated that PSPOs were a key element of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 which came into force in October 2014; the responsibility for making a new PSPO rests with the Council; and an eight-week consultation exercise took place from 7 March 2022 to 2 May 2022, with reference made to the responses received in relation to the consultation.
Details were provide of the draft order (also previously circulated) and the restrictions of this PSPO; that if introduced, a new PSPO would be for another three year period. Reference was also made to the police figures for the town centre (also previously circulated) and the benefits of the town centre PSPO were highlighted.
Following concerns raised regarding arrangements to address youth nuisance, the Community Safety Programme Manager advised Members that the a range of tools were in place, this included Acceptable Behaviour Agreements and that the aim of the PSPO was to prevent the escalation of antisocial behaviour before it becomes criminal. Reference was made to the work of the Begging Working Group to in relation to fixed penalty notices issued to beggars.
Discussion ensued in relation to the effectiveness of fines; engagement with multi-agency partners; and the trends relating to youth related anti-social behaviour.
RESOLVED – (a) That Cabinet be advised that the Communities and Local Services Scrutiny Committee support the renewal of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for the Town Centre.
(b) That an update be provided to a future meeting of this Scrutiny Committee.