Time is running out to have your say on tougher new rules aimed at tackling street drinking and anti-social behaviour in parts of Wisbech

General view of St Peter's gardens Wisbech
General view of St Peter's gardens Wisbech

People in Wisbech are being asked to have their say on proposed tougher rules aimed at tackling drinking and other anti-social behaviour in parts of the town.

People in Wisbech are being asked to have their say on proposed tougher rules aimed at tackling alcohol related misuse and harm within local communities.

But hurry as Fenland District Council’s consultaiton closes this Friday (August 11).

The Government has introduced new legislation that will remove Designated Public Places Orders (DPPO) from public spaces. From October 2017, DPPOs will either stop or be replaced with a new order known as Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). We must now decide how to apply this new legislation in Fenland to tackle alcohol related misuse and harm effectively within our local communities.

The suggestion is that three PSPOs will be introduced in Wisbech. These would be in St Peters Gardens and Sensory Gardens, Memorial Gardens (The Crescent) and Tillery Field Park. pdf icon View a map of the proposed PSPO areas. [830kb]

The council would like to know your views on the changes and on the PSPO proposal in general. We also welcome any other feedback you have on these issues which may shape future PSPO considerations within these locations or others.

The difference between DPPOs and PSPOs is:

DPPOs were introduced in Fenland in 2009 and currently cover the market towns of March, Whittlesey and Wisbech. They gave local authorities power to designate public areas as places where it is an offence to drink alcohol when requested by a police officer not to.

In 2014, changes were made to the laws around anti-social behaviour. This introduced PSPOs to replace DPPOs and gave more power to local authorities regulate certain behaviours in public spaces.

PSPOs will give councils much broader enforcement powers, and can be used to restrict the consumption of alcohol in a public place. They can be issued by Councils after consultation with the Police, Police and Crime Commissioner and other relevant bodies.

What PSPOs can do:

PSPOs aim to deal with a particular problem in a specific area that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life. This is by imposing conditions on the use of the area that apply to everyone; making sure the law-abiding majority can enjoy open spaces that are free from anti-social behaviour. They can be created to tackle specific (and multiple) issues being faced in a public space, with examples including:

• Controlling the use of dogs

• Restricting access to an area

• Prohibilting misuse of substances

• Restricting alcohol consumption in a public place

• Tacking noise nuisance

• Stopping unreasonable behaviour that has a detrimental effect on the community

The Council can make a PSPO after they conduct a test on the activity (or activities) in a public place that they proposes to restrict. They will judge if they:

• Have (or are likely to have) a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality

• Are (or are likely to be) persistent or continuing in nature

• Are (or are likely to be) unreasonable

• Justify the restrictions imposed

As with DPPOs (which PSPOs replace), there are some limitations on the powers they have.

Partner feedback and proposed areas:

An informal discussion has been held with Community Safety partners (including the police and Wisbech Alcohol Partnership) on the existing DPPOs and their future based on current needs. It was suggested that the use of DPPOs covering March and Whittlesey should not be replaced. This means existing DPPOs will stop on October 20 this year. However, if evidence shows action is needed then it would be considered whether alcohol restrictive PSPOs would be introduced in these areas, as well as in Chatteris.

It was identified that there were areas within Wisbech where consumption of alcohol in public places is having a detrimental effect on the local community. This led partners to recommend implementating specific PSPO’s to replace the existing, widespread DPPOs currently in place. The three recommended areas are in Wisbech (St Peters Gardens and Sensory Gardens, Memorial Gardens, Tillery Field Park) and were recommended due to street drinking reports and alcohol related littering.