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Curbing anti-social behaviour in Gateshead

Posted on Wednesday 11 January 2017

Plans to tackle dog fouling and overly persistent street charity collectors are among measures coming into force in Gateshead in an effort to cut down on anti-social behaviour in public places.

Numerous complaints from Gateshead residents about people not clearing up after their dogs, organisations touting for business in the town centre, people drinking in the street and charity collectors being too persistent, have prompted Gateshead Council to authorise Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) which will be enforced from March 1.

PSPOs give local authorities additional powers to deal with individuals or groups of people committing anti-social behaviour in public spaces, which has a negative effect on the local community.

And Gateshead Council has authorised the introduction of three such orders.

The first is for the whole of Gateshead and will introduce measures to ensure anyone walking a dog has the means to clear up after it and deposit the bag in bins, or take it home. It would also give the police powers to seize alcohol from anyone drinking and causing disorder in a public place.

The second will cover Gateshead Town Centre and is aimed at organisations and charities which are overly persistent in approaching people in the street, drinking in the street, begging and urinating in a public place.

The third covers the MetroCentre Retail Park and will address people driving in an antisocial manner, racing,  taking up parking spaces meant for shoppers by attending unauthorised car rallies, driving dangerously  and spinning wheels, otherwise known as ‘burn outs’. 

Breaching Public Space Protection Orders will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or prosecution resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 if convicted.

Councillor Linda Green, Cabinet Member for Communities and Volunteering, which covers Community Safety said: “We want people to enjoy coming to the town centre and not be put off by those people who think they can spoil it for the majority. We are introducing PSPOs to encourage people to change their behaviour and have some pride in their local community.

“Dog fouling is also a persistent problem across the borough and we know from our consultation on PSPOs that it is actually the single biggest cause for concern for Gateshead residents. Hopefully, PSPOs will be one way forward in tackling this antisocial behaviour from some dog owners.”

Northumbria Police Chief Inspector Karl Wilson said: "We work closely with Gateshead Council to try and make the area a safe and enjoyable place for people to live and spend time and the introduction of the PSPOs will help make a positive difference to local peoples' quality of life.

 "We already do a lot of work to tackle anti-social behaviour across the borough, however, we are always looking at new and innovative ways to help improve our communities and these new measures could really help."

The Council will be raising awareness of the incoming PSPOs with dog owners, people who tout for business in the town centre and others who may be affected by the orders throughout January and February, as well as working on ways for members of the public to report any breaches of the orders. These may involve immediate reporting methods for smartphones, or forms for residents to submit via the Council website.

Signs will also be erected in the town centre, throughout the borough and at the MetroCentre alerting people to the PSPOs and what they cover, ahead of the enforcement start date of March 1, 2017.

Find out more about PSPOs