Council sets its number one priority - and number two

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On the back of closing some of the town's toilets the council is now going to clamp down on people relieving themselves in the street.

On Tuesday next week, the authority's cabinet will vote on the creation of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Scarborough, covering Castle, North Bay, Ramshill, Northstead, Central, Weaponness and Stepney wards.

The order was originally going to cover rough sleeping, homelessness and the lighting of bonfires on the beach but following public pressure and an objection from civil liberties group, Liberty, the council dropped this idea.

It will now cover street drinking, Intoxicating substances; and urination and defecation - by humans, not dogs.

The report adds: "The maximum duration of a PSPO is 3 years, and at any point before expiry, the Council can extend the PSPO by up to 3 years if it is considered necessary to prevent the original behaviour from occurring or recurring.

"The council can also discharge or vary the PSPO.

"Once a PSPO is made by the Council, it will be an offence for any person, without reasonable excuse, to do anything that is prohibited by the PSPO, or to fail to comply with any requirement under the PSPO A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding Level 3 (currently £1000).

"The Act also allows offences to be dealt with by use of Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN). The Council has the discretion to set the level of penalty up to a maximum amount of £100, and can also specify a discounted figure if the FPN is paid within a specified number of days (less than 14)."

A petition was received from the Scarborough Free Community group which was signed by 117 signatories opposing the introduction of a PSPO.

It stated: “We demand that Scarborough Borough Council abandons plans for the introduction of a PSPO.

"We believe that this would promote the image of Scarborough as a town rife with problems and lacking in compassion."

The cabinet report adds that 40% of all anti-social behaviour recorded in Scarborough takes place in Castle, Central, and North Bay wards.

There have been close to 800 incidents in the last three years involving street drinking in the wards that will be covered, with the order also being extended to cover so-called legal highs, for which possession is not a criminal offence.

However, the most eye-catching part of the order covering urination and defecation - dog fouling is covered under different legislation.

The report states: "Urinating or defecating in public are not offences in themselves, although depending on the context (for example if perpetrators are drunk and disorderly or considered to be indecent) then action can be taken under other legislation such as the Public Order Act 1986 or the Criminal Justice Act 1967.

"Some Councils have byelaws prohibiting this type of behaviour but this does not apply to the Borough.

"We know this is an issue in the Town Centre, particularly within the night time economy, where it is considered there are sufficient toilets within licensed premises to make this type of behaviour unnecessary.

"There is also evidence of regular urination within the shelters on South Cliff. In both cases the practice is unpleasant, unhygienic, and creates an additional cleaning burden for the Council and private businesses."

This week, the council revealed plans to close toilets in Scabrorough and make others have a pay-on-entry gate system.