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Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO)

What is a Public Space Protection Order?

A Public Space Protection Order, also known as a PSPO, is a new power available under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. An order can be used to control certain activities in a specified area if two conditions are met:

  • that the activities have had or are likely to have, a detrimental effect on those in the locality
  • that the effect is, or is likely to be, persistent and continuing nature and is or is likely to be such as to make those activities unreasonable and that restrictions are justified

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Public Space Protection Orders

Worthing Borough Council has implemented the following three Public Space Protection Orders:

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Why has Worthing Borough Council brought in the orders?

Adur and Worthing are among the safest places to live in the UK. This has been achieved through strong partnership working and a willingness to try lots of different approaches to reducing crime and disorder. Adur & Worthing Councils have been very successful in using a range of tools to tackle Anti-Social Behaviour. This has involved a mixture of enforcement and support for both victims and perpetrators of anti-social behaviour. However, some of the existing options available to Sussex Police and Adur & Worthing Councils are time consuming and expensive. Some of the most effective legislation can only be targeted at individuals and cannot effectively address persistent and unreasonable behaviour caused by groups of people.

By implementing the PSPOs, Sussex Police and Council officers will have additional powers to challenge those who are causing anti-social behaviour. The orders will also act as a deterrent and send the message that Adur and Worthing will not tolerate behaviour that results in nuisance and disorder.

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What happens if an order is breached?

Sussex Police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) will be able to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) to anyone is who breaching the conditions of a PSPO. This will result in a fine. If the fine is not paid, the person will be summonsed to court and may be subject to a fine of up to £500.

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Why restrict public place drinking?

Worthing has had a Designated Public Place Order for several years. The new PSPO will replace the existing order, which is required by law in order to retain the power to confiscate and dispose of alcohol where it is leading, or might lead to anti-social behaviour. It will not be an offence to drink alcohol in public in Worthing but it will be an offence to refuse to comply with a request by an authorised officer to cease drinking or surrender alcohol.

Alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour has increasingly become an issue, predominately in Worthing Town Centre. In particular, in recent years, Worthing has experienced significant anti-social behaviour from a small number of individuals who regularly consume alcohol and congregate in the town centre. The impact on the local community, including local businesses and also visitors to the town is significant. Retaining the power to confiscate alcohol will be integral to managing the impact of alcohol driven anti-social behaviour in Worthing.

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Why restrict begging?

Worthing Town Centre has been subject to increased levels of incidents of begging. In 2015, Sussex police undertook an operation to challenge those individuals aggressively and /or persistently approaching members of the public, with the purpose of obtaining money. Reports from members of the public and also local businesses indicated that such incidences were becoming more frequent and intimidating. Persistent begging can impact negatively on businesses and tourism within the town centre.

Research by Thames Reach, a leading homelessness charity has been leading a campaign to raise awareness about the negative impact of giving to people begging.

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Won't the orders penalise the most vulnerable members of our community?

Adur & Worthing Councils recognise that poverty and homelessness can lead to people feeling forced to beg. Adur & Worthing Councils work in partnership with a variety of agencies and also work directly with such individuals to provide alternatives to this lifestyle. However, some individuals choose not to engage with the services offered and remain entrenched in street community life, engaging in behaviours that have a detrimental impact on the wider community.

Adur & Worthing Councils will continue to seek solutions to homelessness and financial hardship. However, the Councils have to balance the rights and needs of all sectors of the community including local residents, businesses and those who visit Worthing. It is not acceptable for these people to feel intimidated and to lose business due to the behaviour of a minority of individuals.

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Why restrict camping in public places?

Unauthorised camping in our public spaces has increased in recent years. For the residents living close to these areas and for the officers who have to deal with the impact of unauthorised camping, this can lead to nuisance, anti-social behaviour and increased need for cleansing and waste service intervention.

Those who choose to camp in our public spaces range from “tourists” to itinerant workers and individuals of no fixed abode. The lack of public amenities and waste disposal services often results in littering, inappropriate disposal of waste and damage to the facilities.

Adur & Worthing Councils recognise that nationally as well as locally, there is a dramatic increase in the number of individuals who sleep rough. Adur & Worthing Councils employ a Street Outreach worker and specialist housing officers, specifically to identify such individuals and help them to access the support they need. However, a small minority choose not to accept this support and continue to live a life style that can impact negatively on the wider community.

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Who will enforce the orders?

Sussex Police Officers and PCSOs will be able to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice if there is a breach of a PSPO. Adur & Worthing Councils have also designated a power to issue the FPNs to some Council officers. These officers have been trained to ensure that they enforce the orders in a fair and proportionate way. They have been provided information on the support available locally and where they identify that someone is vulnerable or in need of help, they will provide this information and liaise with support agencies to work with the individual concerned.

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