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Research suggests growing use of public spaces protection orders

Councils have enacted a range of public spaces protection orders (PSPOs) since the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 came into force last October, research by a campaign group has suggested.

The Manifesto Club – which campaigns against over-regulation and has previously described the Act as including “a swathe of unprecedentedly open-ended powers, which significantly undermine rights in public spaces” – reported that the following councils had already introduced PSPOs:

  • Oxford City Council: has passed a PSPO that prohibits people under the age of 21 from entering a tower block, unless they are legally resident in the block or visiting a legal resident.
  • Cambridge City Council: has passed a ban on ‘open containers’ of alcohol.
  • Boston Council: has issued a PSPO to restrict public drinking.
  • Poole Council: has obtained two orders prohibiting street drinking and begging.
  • Colchester Council: has passed an order aimed at banning ‘boy racers’ from gathering in a retail park after 6 pm.
  • Lincoln City Council: has banned the consumption of alcohol and legal highs in the city centre.
  • North East Lincolnshire Council: has passed a PSPO allowing the confiscation of alcohol.

The Manifesto Club research also revealed a number of draft PSPOs were under public consultation.

It said Oxford was currently consulting on an order to introduce controls on other activities in the city centre, including busking, begging, rough sleeping, pigeon feeding, drinking and dogs off leads.

Kettering Borough Council is meanwhile consulting on a public spaces protection order in the town centre, which would regulate activities including street drinking, skateboarding, charity collectors, 'using a motor vehicle in an anti-social manner', begging, and 'anti-social parking'.

The report said other councils had PSPOs under consideration. Southend, Bradford and Portsmouth are among those authorities looking to follow Lincoln in planning bans on legal highs, while Huntingdon, Liverpool and Wyre Forest are planning restrictions on street drinking.

A number of authorities are also considering the introduction of more extensive controls on dog walking.

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