Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Police have today started to implement a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Doncaster town centre. The aim of the PSPO is to provide help and support to vulnerable members of the community, to address aggressive begging and deter anti-social behaviour.
The PSPO will see the council, Police and other partners including St Leger Homes, RdASH, Aspire drug and alcohol services, Riverside and Doncaster Children’s Services Trust work together to address issues of concern such as homelessness, rough sleeping, begging and anti-social behaviour.
The organisations work together as the Complex Lives Alliance to provide help and support to people who experience a combination of related issues such as homelessness, rough sleeping, addiction, poor mental and physical health.
This support can include financial assistance, housing support and help people to access accommodation where needed, and to help them break the cycle of homelessness, rough sleeping or begging and to address addictions and mental health issues so they recover and stabilise their lives.
The work of the Complex Lives Alliance has already this year engaged with and supported 45 people into accommodation and treatment and support services.
Now the PSPO is in place members of the community will see an increased high visibility presence within the town centre as officers and support staff conduct patrols, engage with the community, provide support and help to those who are homeless or rough sleeping and deter anti-social behaviour.
Cllr Chris McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The introduction of the PSPO is something that the majority of residents who responded to the consultation said they wanted to see in the town centre. The PSPO will be another tool to use to help those who may find themselves homeless or rough sleeping. We will be working with our partners to encourage people to get the help and support they need.
“However, we will not allow the continuation of the anti-social behaviour that is currently taking place in the town centre. For those who continue to breach the PSPO and who do not want to access support offered we will take direct action and they could receive a fixed penalty fine of £100.”
Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture said: “Homelessness is now a major issue in all towns and cities across Britain. Since 2010 homelessness has increased by 134%, over 1 million people use food banks in Britain regularly and we have an appalling position in that latest projections show that ‘children classed as living in poverty’ are expected to rise to 5.2 million within the next five years.
“This is ‘austerity’ in action and its consequences. Doncaster will do what it can to work with agencies and organisations within ‘Complex Lives’ to support our most vulnerable people.”
Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest who has been involved in the development of the PSPO has said: “Our priority is to ensure we are protecting vulnerable people, keeping everyone safe and working to make Doncaster a happy and enjoyable place to live. By working with and supporting our partners to implement the PSPO, we hope we will be able to achieve this.
“I hope this illustrates our commitment to creating a happy and safe environment for everyone to live in and I hope our local communities feel reassured by this action.”
Stuart Green Service Manager at Aspire Drug and Alcohol also commented on the purpose of the order. He said “We want to support people to live meaningful lives free from the chains of addiction, and create a healthier Doncaster for all.”
The Public Spaces Protection Order will:
- Ban begging
- Ban loitering around cash machines, sitting or lying in or adjacent to doorways, shop entrances or loiter near or tamper with car park ticket and payment machines
- Ban the taking of intoxicating substances
- Ban (unless authorised) stopping people for the purpose of getting them to enter into financial agreements for charitable or other purposes
- Ban drinking alcohol in the town centre other than in licensed premises and enable the police or other authorised enforcement officers to make anyone found drinking alcohol on the streets within the town centre hand over open or unopened alcohol tins or bottles.
- Ban any activity or behaviour which causes nuisance, alarm, harassment or distress to another person
- Ban urinating or defecating anywhere that is not in a public toilet
- Ban putting up or using a tent or other temporary structure or sleeping overnight in the town centre