Additional powers for police and council officers to combat antisocial behaviour in Margate and Ramsgate will come into force next month.
Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) were approved by Thanet council in July after hundreds of complaints and enforcement action against people spitting, urinating and defecating in public areas as well as jumping between buildings.
The orders cover Margate Central and Central Harbour in Ramsgate and parts of Eastcliff in Ramsgate and Cliftonville West.
These wards have the highest rate of antisocial behaviour reports in the district accounting for more than half – 53% – of all complaints.
At a neighbourhood engagement meeting in Ramsgate this month (August) Sergeant Steve Moat told residents that antisocial behaviour in the town could not yet be tackled using the orders as they were yet to come into force but were expected to be implemented ‘shortly’.
‘Education and training’
Thanet council says training has been undertaken by officers at Thanet council and Kent Police in preparation for the PSPOs.
A Thanet council spokesperson said: “The anti-social behaviour public spaces protection order (PSPO) was approved in July. Since then we have been working on education and training for both council and police officers, to ensure everyone has knowledge of how and when it should be implemented.
“New signs have been developed and will be installed in the affected areas of the district to highlight the PSPO and its implications. Implementation is expected to begin in mid-September with a series of events planned with community partners to help tackle the issues that have led to the introduction of the order.”
During the 2017/18 financial year tactics to combat antisocial behaviour have included a large number of police dispersals, the application for three civil injunctions, two Criminal Behaviour Orders, 36 Community Protection Warnings and 8 Community Protection Notices.
Thanet District Council’s Community Safety Team dealt with 239 complaints of ASB within the designated areas and took enforcement action for the misuse of public space on 23 occasions.
The misuse of public space included cycling on pavements and in pedestrianised areas when asked not to, spitting, urinating and defecating in public areas and jumping between buildings.
The orders give police and council officers additional powers to take enforcement action against offenders.
What the PSPO covers:
The PSPO will prohibit congregating as part of a group of 2 or more for such duration as specified, when directed not to do so by an authorised officer; on the basis that the behaviour is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others in the locality.
It will prohibit misusing any public space, facility or installation; when directed not to do so by an authorised officer and that the behaviour is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to others in the locality.
It will prohibit anyone from causing an obstruction, nuisance or annoyance to customers, staff or members of the public accessing or leaving commercial premises.
This includes deliberately obstructing any access or egress points, so as to potentially make access to or exit from a commercial premise more difficult.
Commercial premises includes but is not limited to licensed food premises, supermarkets, independent retailers, market traders and convenience stores.
All persons are prohibited from using foul or abusive language in such a manner that it is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any other person in any public place.
All persons are prohibited from excreting bodily fluids, including but not limited to urinating, defecating or spitting in any public place that is not a specified toilet facility.