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Agenda item

Evaluation of Public Spaces Protection Order for the Town Centre

Cabinet Portfolio:                 Waste, Roads and Community Safety

Strategic Directorate:           Regeneration and Environment

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report that provided a detailed review of the implementation of the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in Rotherham Town Centre and Clifton Park. The report stated that whilst it was encouraging that incidents in the PSPO had continued to decrease, further attention was required in the areas identified as ‘hot spots’. Further monitoring and swift enforcement against repeat offenders would also be required, to prevent escalation to nine breaches of the PSPO, as in the case of the individual referenced within the report.

 

Members noted that the allocation of resources continued to be a challenge and this pressure was likely to increase in the short term. This would challenge officers in respect of maintaining enforcement levels and could lead to short term reductions in enforcement activities. Members were advised that the pressures arising should lead to consideration of the potential use of sporadic, targeted, operations, drawing resource from other areas and focussing on problem times or problem areas.

 

It was reported that officers had no reason to propose an adjustment of the Public Space Protection Order at this stage and it was recommended that a further formal review was undertaken during the summer of 2020, prior to the order lapsing in October 2020.

 

In response to a Member question in respect of the data provided, it was explained that the police had changed their method of recording data. This had the effect of skewing the data and it was considered necessary to review longer term trends. 

 

Members queried whether the introduction of the PSPO had led to a dispersal of criminal behaviours to other locations. In response, the Cabinet Member indicated that there were hot spots on the fringe of the town centre, but there was no intelligence to suggest that it had dispersed. It was confirmed that the position would be kept under review and there was displacement from shifting hotspots but that it was not outside the entire area designated with the PSPO.

 

Clarification was requested in respect of the times of day that offences were being committed and whether that could be linked to the hours worked by officers. In response, it was confirmed that one of the hot spot times was for closing time for bars and pubs from 2300 until 0300 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

 

Members sought to understand how the resource deployed to manage the PSPO. It was confirmed that officers from the Council and South Yorkshire Police were responsible for enforcement of the order. It was confirmed that officers from the council and South Yorkshire Police were alive to the peak times for the town centre. The PSPO was an additional tool for enforcement and was being used accordingly. Furthermore it was considered to have been a success to date. Enforcement practices had painted a good picture of the situation in the area and had enabled quick responses to particular behaviours.

 

Members reflected on the historic concerns expressed by people regarding feeling safe in town centre and queried whether people were reporting that they now felt more secure. In response, it was explained that there had been a slight increases in women feeling safer in the town centre, but more work was required to understand what had driven that perception.

 

Resolved:-

 

That a further report evaluating the success of the Public Spaces Protection Order for the town centre be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny Management Board in February 2020.

Supporting documents: