Alcohol: Over the last year a third of arrests in the city centre were recorded as involving alcohol. More arrests in the city centre involve alcohol compared to the rest of Manchester. Street drinking is sometimes associated with antisocial behaviour, including rowdy and nuisance behaviour, harassment and intimidation of passers-by, as well as littering with cans and bottles. If introduced, the PSPO will replace the existing city centre Alcohol Restriction Zone (also known as a Designated Public Place Order) which puts restrictions on public drinking.
Begging: Over the last three years, of all the incidents classed as begging or vagrancy in Manchester the city centre accounted for 75% of them. The public have reported that they have been intimidated by people who beg near cash machines and at the entrances of commercial premises. Concerns have also been raised about people approaching others to beg for money. Reports involve incidents of verbal abuse and intimidation associated with begging.
Obstruction of entrances and exits: Reports continue from residential and commercial premises about people obstructing the entrance or exit, including fire exits. On occasion this has created problems for businesses opening or closing. Obstructing a fire exit causes a significant health and safety risk for those inside the building. Residents are fearful when attempting to enter or leave their homes if their route is obstructed. Several reports have been received of people being verbally abused when they have asked individuals to stop obstructing the entrance or exit to their premises.
Urination and defecation: The reports received from residents and people working in the city centre tell us that there is a problem with people urinating and defecating outside residents' homes, on the streets and near pubs, clubs and restaurants. The detrimental effects include the smell, the low-level health risk and how this human waste is offensive in a public space. In addition there are reports that when people are asked not to urinate or defecate there is verbal abuse and intimidation.
Disposal of needles: We understand that discarded needles are a significant concern for people living, working in and visiting the city centre. This can have a negative psychological impact, particularly for residents. Concerns have been raised about the potential health and safety risks of needles being disposed of in public spaces without an appropriate sharps container.
Tents and other structures: Reports have been received of tents obstructing roads, pavements and the entrances and exits of buildings. Within and around some tents there is evidence of an accumulation of drug paraphernalia, human waste, discarded food, broken glass and vermin. This has a detrimental impact on the people occupying the tents and the wider community.
Litter: There is already legislation in place for the Council to act when a person commits the offence of littering. Litter and hazardous waste have an impact on the public, they are unpleasant visually as well as having health and safety considerations. The accumulation of litter in public places creates an opportunity to conceal objects, is considered a security risk and should be removed quickly. A PSPO could complement this legislation by allowing authorised officers to require people to pick up their litter and dispose of it appropriately.
Commercial Waste: The city centre has a high number of densely located commercial premises that operate differently and at different hours of the day and night. The impact of these businesses not adequately managing their waste is extremely detrimental to the visual amenity of the city centre. There are frequent instances of rat infestation in these areas, which is encouraged by the ready supply of food waste and other materials, often as a result of split bags, where waste has been left out on the street for a prolonged period or by individuals going through bags. This is then made worse by the lack of cleansing following a spill.
What are we proposing?
Based on our own findings and what we have been told by the community and our partners about the impact of antisocial behaviour, we are proposing to include these behavours in the prohibitions and requirements of the proposed order to apply to everyone in the city centre at all times of day and night.