Labour councillors representing the centre of town have welcomed the new Public Spaces Protection Order to combat antisocial behavior problem areas.
The measure will allow on-the-spot fines of up £100 for urination, defecation, spitting or littering in a public place, as well as other antisocial behaviour such as drinking and taking drugs. These fines will be able to be issued by community safety officers – and hence not relying on overstretched police resources – within a designated area which has been amended following consultation and now includes other ASB problem areas such as Southchurch Hall Gardens and Hamlet Court Road.
Cllr Matt Dent, Labour councillor for Kursaal ward, said, “I’m delighted that the new administration has listened to the residents of Southend and made these changes. We all know that rising crime is an issue in the town, and whilst this PSPO won’t be a silver bullet to solve them, I hope that it will help town centre residents whose lives have been blighted for too long by antisocial behaviour and other offences. As a Kursaal representative, I’m particularly pleased at the inclusion of Southchurch Hall Gardens, which was called for by those living nearby and the volunteers who help in the park. My thanks to the portfolio holder, Cllr Martin Terry, for the listening stance he has adopted on this.”
Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council and councillor for Victoria ward, added, “The new report on this proposal also sets out with absolute clarity that this order will not be used to criminalise rough sleepers and the homeless. Home Office guidance is very clear that PSPOs cannot be used for that purpose, and our administration will be clear in our instructions to the community safety team, and close in our monitoring of them, to make sure that it is being used for the intended purpose.”