Posted on Tuesday 21 March 2017
In the three weeks since Gateshead Council introduced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to prevent anti-social behaviour in the town centre, four Fixed Penalty Notice fines have been issued to people breaching the orders.
And the council has now set up a new system for people to report any breaches they come across.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) were introduced in Gateshead on March 1,after numerouscomplaints from Gateshead residents. Objections about people not clearing up after their dogs, organisations touting for business in the town centre, begging, people drinking in the street and charity collectors being too persistent, prompted the authorisation of three orders, one of which specifically covers Gateshead town centre.
Now a dedicated email mailbox PSPO@gateshead.gov.uk has been set up, mainly for the reporting of town centre anti-social behaviour. But the council also welcomes any questions or information about breaches of the other two orders, which were set up to tackle dog fouling and anti-social driving and rallies in the MetroCentre carparks.
PSPOs give the council powers to deal with individuals or groups of people committing anti-social behaviour in public places that has a negative effect on the local community.
Breaching the orders can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or prosecution resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 if convicted.
The council will prioritise complaints where people give their name and contact details when reporting breaches of the PSPOs and the date, time and location of the incident. People also need to give a description of the nuisance or annoyance caused to them and if it’s by an organisation – the name of the charity or company.
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 spoil it for the majority.
“It is not currently proposed to take action against a polite approach from salespeople and charity collectors, but if people are obstructed or harassed in any way, we would encourage them to report the incident to us so we can take action.”
An example of collectors or sales people acting in a challenging way would be if they continued to try to talk to you, or persuade you to stop, even when you had made it clear you were not interested. Obstructing you physically, such as blocking your path, would also be a breach of the order.
The council is relying on information from the public as, with limited resources, the capacity to patrol areas is limited.