Scarborough Council’s cabinet last week backed a request to renew the borough’s Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) and also to approve its use in Whitby.
The current PSPO is part of a range of measures used by North Yorkshire Police and the council to tackle anti-social behaviour, particularly disruptive behaviour caused by alcohol.
It has been in place since July 2017 and covers public spaces within a designated area of Scarborough, primarily within the centre and central part of the town, including the beach areas.
Within the PSPO area there are restrictions on consuming alcohol; those causing anti-social behaviour whilst drinking in public places can be ordered to surrender their alcohol.
The PSPO also places restrictions on consuming psychoactive substances (formerly known as legal highs) and it is an offence to urinate or defecate in a public place in the designated area.
Failure to comply with the terms of the PSPO can result in a fixed penalty notice and a fine of £100.
Following a public consultation, the council will now extend the PSPO to include parts of Whitby.
A report prepared for the cabinet noted: “In terms of the designated area for the PSPO there is a high degree of support to extend the area to Whitby with over 97% of respondents supporting this.
“The majority of areas identified by respondents as ‘should be included’ are already included within the designated area, specifically Scarborough Town Centre, Peasholm Park and South Cliff/Esplanade. Five people mentioned including the whole borough but this is not considered proportionate.”
The cabinet heard that the PSPO area was used as a prevention tool with a relatively low number of fines issued over the last three years. In total 66 fixed penalty notices had been issued with 40 of those for urination or defecation in the area.
A further 24 were given to people who refused to stop consuming alcohol after being warned and just two were for the use of psychoactive substances.
However, as the cabinet member for stronger communities and housing Cllr Carl Maw admitted, not all fines are paid, with only 15 of the 66 issued being paid in full.
He said: “The PSPO acts a deterrent. It is not a perfect scheme but the scheme is not perfect and people will say that many of those who incur the fines won’t pay but it will deter many others. It has reduced anti-social behaviour.”
Figures show that incidents of anti-social behaviour linked to alcohol in the Scarborough PSPO area have fallen by 40% since 2017.
The decision needs to be ratified by the full council, though if a meeting cannot be held before the current PSPO is due to expire in July then the decision will be delegated to chief executive Mike Greene to make.