New signs targeting anti-social behaviour have been installed across Thanet.
Five designs have been created for the signs which highlight the Public Space Protection Orders which were agreed by Thanet council Cabinet members in August.
The PSPOs were approved by councillors following 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.
The signs cover a range of acts, from campervan parking in restricted areas to spitting and urinating in public.
One sign also shows a tent which has raised criticism on social media that the council is targeting people who are rough sleeping.
Thanet council says this is not the case and the signs are aimed at ‘ninja camping’ where people pitch up tents overnight on public land for recreational use.
A council spokesperson said: “Signs which include a picture of a tent are aimed specifically at people who choose to camp overnight on beaches or public land and crucially, who cause disruptive behaviour – often referred to as ninja camping.
“Council officers or police who come across people who are homeless, and/or living in tents and not committing anti-social behaviour will be referred to the council’s RISE multi-agency team who support rough sleepers in the district. Anyone who commits anti-social behaviour – in particular those using drugs on our beaches, or in our parks and open spaces will face enforcement action.”
The signs have been installed in areas according to the frequency of anti-social behaviour reports to both police and the council’s Community Safety Team who deal with issues such as drinking alcohol, using abusive or foul language, urinating or spitting in public.
The council spokesperson added: “The new signs provide information to the public that if any of this behaviour is witnessed by police or council officers, they will risk being issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice for £100 if they fail to adhere to warnings.”
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.
Seems reasonable, depending on how they are used.
So how do you get hold of these officers when you need them ? Will they have phones you can call them on or will you just get the usual long wait, leave a message or report it online when you call the Council ?
Also, will these officers stop all the illegal encampments on land by travellers with their caravans which cost the authority and therefore us thousands each year or will they just target the tourists?
Having these PSPO powers in other areas of the country has seen a rise in homeless people being moved on out of sight of the safety of high street lights and into parks where they are more vulnerable to violent attacks. Out of sight out of mind is not an answer to the problem, the Tory government is the problem. Universal Credit for vulnerable disabled people is the main problem they have made by changing a system which worked to a system which is failing for everybody, and at huge expense to the taxpayer just when the Country cannot cope with it. Money which should be directed at helping our own vulnerable people is wasted on helping the greedy Tories in powerful positions.
All very well in theory but how will it be enforced at weekends when the council offices are closed ? It is certainly not something the police are going to want to get involved with.
There are particular problems on Margate beach with large groups turning up for parties, setting up large PA systems, running petrol generators on the sand, lighting barbecues and other open cooking facilities without prior council permission. Such groups then leave all their rubbish behind on the beach.
Unless there are going to be sufficient boots on the ground on Saturdays and Sundays to enforce these rules, then the cost of the signs is a total waste of council tax payers’ money.
I went to Ramsgate high St Monday and parked in the high street before ten displayed my disabled badge only to be informed by a shop keeper you cannot park there dont know when that came into force so will not be going to Ramsgate high st again its to far for me to walk, I also noticed the anti signs and without looking at it close one thing I thought at a glance the sign was saying no swimming which gave me a giggle to lighten my mood
Rather shocking that these behaviours are only prohibited in certain areas. How did ‘respectful’ citizens become the minority in need of this, I wonder?