A Public Spaces Protection Order could help to tackle anti-social behaviour in Exeter city centre but would need to be enforced by the police and not the local authority, leading City Councillors have said today (Friday 11 March).â€¨â€¨
More than 1,200 people responded to an extended 4-month public consultation on whether Exeter should have a Public Spaces Protection Order.â€¨â€¨ All the responses are now being carefully considered to inform a report that will go before councillors later in the summer.
â€¨â€¨Last week City Council officers said that they were likely to recommend the removal of powers to deal with encampments on public land, confiscation of personal items, and begging from the Public Spaces Protection Order, as these were opposed by the majority of those who took part in the consultation exercise.â€¨â€¨
Now City Council Leader Pete Edwards has said that if other powers to tackle anti-social behaviour such as street drinking, urinating in public, the taking of illegal drugs and legal highs are approved, enforcement should be dealt with by the police and not the local authority, in accordance with the views of the public.â€¨â€¨
Cllr Edwards said: “We are still very much behind finding ways to tackle anti-social behaviour in Exeter, to protect the public and businesses from a small hard core of troublemakers. One of the ways might be through a Public Spaces Protection Order, but people still see the police as the upholder of the law in this country and that is why we will be recommending that this is the way it should stay if a Public Spaces Protection Order is adopted later in the year.” â€¨â€¨
Last year there were 200 logged reports of anti-social behaviour in the Exeter city centre. The figure doesn't account for unreported incidents and is therefore likely to be a lot higher.â€¨â€¨
“I am also keen to look at how we can support the provision of a greater police presence in the city centre, especially at times when these issues are at their most prevalent,” added Cllr Edwards.