Pursuant to Minute C29/Jul/18, the Cabinet Member with the Community Safety Portfolio introduced the report of the Director of Economic Growth and Neighbourhood Services updating Members on the responses received to the consultation undertaken on the introduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Darlington Town Centre and requesting that consideration be given to formally making the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
The submitted report stated that the PSPO aimed to address certain types of anti-social behaviour in the town centre which had a detrimental impact on the public and businesses; the range of anti-social behaviour included alcohol related incidents, youth nuisance and begging; the Council had worked closely with partners and the Youth Offending Team to tackle anti-social behaviour; officers would only utilise the powers of a PSPO when necessary; outlined the benefits of a PSPO; the responses received to the consultation, which were generally supportive of the Order; the legal, financial and equality implications of its introduction; and stated that the Council had worked with partners in developing a begging strategy to deal with begging entitled ‘Begging in Darlington – A Multi-agency Strategic Approach’ (also previously circulated).
The Chair, More in Common Darlington, addressed Cabinet in respect of the groups concerns, regarding the introduction of the PSPO; its perceived negative impact on the vulnerable people that may be affected by its introduction, including those people who may be either begging or sleeping rough in Darlington; its enforcement; and the area covered by the PSPO. The Cabinet Member with the Community Protection Portfolio responded thereon and in doing so stated that the PSPO was aimed at those people begging for financial gain; making the Town Centre a safer place; and stated that it would be implemented in a proportionate manner and should anyone be identified as vulnerable they would be dealt with in a sensitive manner.
Discussion ensued on the issue of begging within the Town Centre; homelessness; and the use of the powers contained within the PSPO.
In reaching its decision Members considered the Equality Impact Assessment (also previously circulated).
RESOLVED – (a) That the feedback received following the consultation undertaken on the introduction of the Public Spaces Protection Order - Darlington Town Centre, as detailed at Appendix 5 to the submitted report, be noted.
(b) That the Public Spaces Protection Order – Darlington Town Centre, as detailed at Appendix 2 to the submitted report, be approved and formally made.
REASONS – (a) To enable officers, including Police, PCSO’s and Civic Enforcement Officers to effectively deal with various types of anti-social behaviour with an extended range of powers.
(b) To improve the quality of life of persons visiting and working in the area covered by the PSPO.