Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)
The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced several new tools and powers for use by councils and their partners to address anti-social behaviour (ASB) in their local areas.
Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are one of the tools available under the 2014 Act. These are wide-ranging and flexible powers for local authorities, which recognise that councils are often best placed to identify the broad and cumulative impact that ASB can have. The Act gives councils the authority to draft and implement PSPOs in response to the particular issues affecting their communities.
PSPOs focus on the intended problem behaviour in a specified location. The legislation provides for restrictions to be placed on behaviour that apply to everyone in that locality. Breach of a PSPO without a reasonable excuse is an offence.
Orders can be introduced in a specific public area where the local authority is satisfied on reasonable grounds that conditions have been met.
These conditions include the requirement to demonstrate that:
- activities have taken place that have had a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality, or it is likely that activities will take place and that they will have a detrimental effect
- the effect or likely effect of these activities is or is likely to be, persistent or continuing in nature
- is, or is likely to be, unreasonable
- justifies the restrictions being imposed
A single PSPO can be used to target a range of different ASB issues. Orders allow councils to introduce reasonable prohibitions and/or requirements regarding certain behaviours within the specified public area.
Each PSPO must set out:
- what the detrimental activities are
- what is being prohibited and/or required, including any exemptions
- the area covered
- the consequences for breach
- the period for which it has effect
The legislation sets out a number of additional requirements for consultation and communication before an Order is introduced.