At the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday 5 December 2023, Leader of the Council, Councillor David Thomas, announced a new approach to tackling anti-social behaviour in town centres. This is to improve the experience for residents, businesses, and visitors.
The multi-pronged approach announced includes the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) as well as introducing more ASB Investigation Officers, Town Centres Officers and Environmental Crime Enforcement Officers. This will at least double the number of ASB Enforcement Officers that are currently working across Torbay.
Their roles will include establishing relationships with local businesses and gathering evidence and intelligence on what is happening to provide the right response to challenge behaviours that are causing concern. They will also build relationships and work with those people in the Town Centres who are causing or perceived to be causing ASB to reduce and prevent these behaviours.
A team made up from a range of partners will be reinstated. They will focus on supporting vulnerable people and using the right targeted interventions. The team will consist of Council officers from a range of departments, including housing, social care, enforcement and rough sleeping. It will also include Police Officers and mental health outreach staff.
The Officers and multi-agency team will be in place from Spring 2024.
In the meantime, Torbay Council and partners will continue to deliver solutions to antisocial behaviour. This includes the work in improving the Castle Circus and Harbour areas of Torquay Town Centre and starting work in Paignton, following the success in securing Safer Streets Funding. This includes community engagement and education, CCTV improvements and upgrades to street lighting.
Councillor Hayley Tranter, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services, Public Health and Inequalities, said: “We know and have been hearing from our residents and community on a regular basis that our Town Centres need our attention. They are unfortunately suffering from a range of issues which are in the form of anti-social behaviour, littering and street drinking. These are issues we are determined to resolve.
“Putting in place this new enforcement and partnership approach is a positive step forward, making our Town Centres safer and more welcoming places for our residents, businesses and visitors.”
A PSPO is a tool that can be used in a positive way to help prevent anti-social behaviour. It can provide an effective response to some of the daily issues faced and imposes certain conditions within a specific area. Before a PSPO can be put in place, there is a statutory requirement to consult on the actions, activities and area that will be enforced.
Before Christmas, consultation will start on renewing the PSPO for dog fouling which covers the whole of the Torbay.
In the new year, consultation will start on putting in place PSPOs around drinking alcohol and associated behaviours in all our town centres.
The aim is to get these renewed and new PSPO’s in place by April 2024.
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