William Eichler 10 January 2018

Council to introduce PSPO to fight ‘verbal and racial abuse’

Richmondshire council is set to introduce an order banning groups of youths congregating in Colburn after more than 200 incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported.

Over the last nine months residents have reported numerous incidents of underage drinking, verbal and racial abuse, intimidation of younger and older people, as well as other examples of anti-social behaviour.

The district council’s Corporate Board is expected to introduce a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) when they meet next week which will give police and council officers the power to move groups on or fine them for unruly behavior.

‘Multi agency problem solving groups have been working in the area for some time and local people have been asked for their views on the issues – and the proposed PSPO is thought to be the best way forward,” said council leader Yvonne Peacock.

‘We do not take introducing such a radical measure lightly – but we must do something to protect the local community and the quality of their life.

‘By imposing conditions through the order we can give the police and our council officers more powers to disperse the troublemakers – and impose fines when the order is breached.’

The PSPO, made under powers granted by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, will ban groups of three or more youths under the age of 17 from congregating and behaving anti-socially.

Councils have been criticised in the past for using these powers to target people unfairly against the homeless, dog walkers and small gatherings in public places.

To counter this abuse, the Government last month issued new guidance around the use of PSPOs designed to provide local authorities with ‘greater clarity’ on how best to use them.

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