Have your say on potential new powers to tackle city centre antisocial behaviour

A consultation is being launched today (Tuesday 12 February 2019) on a potential new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to promote a safe and welcoming environment across Manchester city centre.

Public Space Protection Orders are legal orders prohibiting specific acts in designated geographical areas.

Manchester City Council believes there is a case for consulting with the public about a potential PSPO covering the city centre to help address a number of issues which have adversely affected the area.

Proposals have been drawn up following detailed evidence-gathering and listening to the concerns of people and businesses about their experiences of the city centre through major consultations such as last year’s City Centre Survey as well as reports to council services. Antisocial behaviour has been consistently highlighted as an issue.

Now the Council wants to hear what people think about the issues and its proposed PSPO.

The proposals are designed to target specific antisocial behaviours, introducing prohibitions on:

  • Drinking alcohol in a non-licensed public space
  • Failing to dispose of commercial waste responsibly
  • Failing to pick up and properly dispose of litter when asked to do so by an authorised officer
  • Discarding hypodermic needles or syringes in a public space (except an appropriate sharps container)
  • Urinating or defecating in a public space (except a toilet)
  • Aggressive or intimidating begging
  • Occupying a tent or other temporary structure in a manner which is likely to create a health and safety risk for other people
  • Continuing to obstruct a building entrance/exit, stairwell or highway after being asked to move

Councillor Nigel Murphy, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “It’s essential that everyone is able to enjoy public spaces in our city centre which are safe and welcoming. Nobody should have to put with behaviour which has a negative impact on them or their environment.

“We have heeded the concerns of people living and working in the city centre, and visitors, about various antisocial behaviours and drawn up proposals for a PSPO to help address them.

“While this would not be a magic wand making these issues disappear, it would give the Council and Police an extra tool to tackle these behaviours. PSPO powers would not be used indiscriminately, only where they were the most appropriate option.

“It’s important to note that these restrictions are targeted at specific antisocial behaviours, some quite general in nature, not at particular groups of people. 

"It must be stressed that our absolute priority remains to support anyone who is in need to connect them with services which can help them improve their lives.

“We have listened and are continuing to listen. No decisions have been taken. This consultation will be crucial in shaping whether we proceed with proposals, and if so in what form. Your contributions are essential to help us build up an overall picture of the issues and their impacts so I’d encourage people to take part.”

A breach of a PSPO is a criminal offence enforceable through a fixed penalty notice of £100. If prosecuted in court it can involve a fine of up to £1,000 but cannot carry a jail sentence.

To find out more and take part in the consultation visit www.manchester.gov.uk/consultations

The consultation will be open until Monday 7 April. Any next steps will be determined in the summer once the results have been analysed and considered.

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