Issue - meetings

City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

Meeting: 02/11/2015 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 55)

55 Call In: City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Contact Officer: Richard Adams, Service Manager Environmental Protection   Tel 01865 252283, radams@oxford.gov.uk

 

 

Background Information

The City Executive Board approved the introduction of a City Centre Public Space Protection Order at its meeting on 15 October 2015.

The proposals for a City Centre Public Space Protection Order were considered at these previous meetings:

·         11 October 2015 – City Executive Board

·         6 October 2015 – Scrutiny Committee

·         5 October 2015 – PSPO Scrutiny Panel

·         11 June 2015 – City Executive Board (deferred)

·         2 June 2015 - Scrutiny Committee

Why is it on the agenda?

The CEB decision to approve the introduction of a City Centre Public Space Protection Order was called-in by the Chair of the Scrutiny Committee on 19 October 2015 for the following reason:

“Although the Scrutiny Committee have already considered the issue in detail they did not have the benefit of the later information from the University of Oxford or Liberty”.

The Scrutiny Committee is required to review the City Executive Board decision in light of these new representations.  The Scrutiny Committee, on a majority, can decide to:

1.    support the decision, which can then be acted on immediately; or

2.    send the decision back with its comments to the City Executive Board who will then take a final decision.

Who has been invited to comment?

The following representatives from the University of Oxford and Liberty have been invited to attend to present their views:

  • Andrew Mackie, Director of Legal Services and General Counsel, University of Oxford
  • Rosie Brighouse, Legal Officer, Liberty – apologies received

The following will attend to answer the Committee’s questions:

·         Councillor Dee Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Crime, Community Safety and Licensing

·         Richard Adams, Service Manager Environmental Protection

·         Jeremy Thomas, Head of Law and Governance

Speaking on agenda items 

Any member of the public and any councillor who is not a member of the committee can speak on an agenda item if the Chair agrees. The Chair will decide how long they can speak for.

 

What information is available?

The following documents have been submitted to inform the discussion:

1.    A new report from the Head of Community Services which describes the consultation process and includes the consultation letter and email sent to landowners

2.    The email from the Director of Legal Services and General Counsel, University of Oxford

3.    Draft PSPO - updated following City Executive Board on 15 October 2015

4.    City Executive Board report – 15 October 2015

5.    City Executive Board supplementary report – 15 October 2015 - which addresses the representations from Liberty in the letter of 9 October 2015

6.    Extract from the draft minutes extract of the City Executive Board on 15 October 2015

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee explained that he had called in the CEB decision to approve the introduction of a City Centre Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) because he was concerned that the information raised by the University of Oxford and Liberty had not been fully considered.  He asked the Committee to limit their discussion to the following issues:

·         The University of Oxford proposal that their land be excluded from the City Centre PSPO

·         the three points raised by Liberty in their letter dated 9 October 2015:

­   insufficient evidence of detrimental effect

­   insufficient consideration of alternative and/or existing measures

­   disproportionate breadth of PSPO terms

·         the proposed use of Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs)

 

The Committee & Member Services Manager advised the Committee that it was required to review the City Executive Board decision in light of the call-in representations and, on a majority, decide to:

1.      support the decision, which can then be acted on immediately; or

2.      refer the decision back, with comments, to the City Executive Board to take a final decision.

 

The Chair of the City Centre PSPO Scrutiny Panel said that he supported the call-in as he was concerned that the Panel had not been in a position to fully scrutinise the City Centre PSPO and take account of the matters raised by the University of Oxford and Liberty.  He acknowledged that the Head of Law & Governance and the Community Safety & Resilience Manager had kept the Panel informed of developments but felt that the role of the Panel had been constrained.

 

The Community Safety & Resilience Manager briefed the Committee on the key stages of the consultation process highlighting the fact that the general letter to University addresses had been supplemented by a targeted letter to University Bursars and by discussions with the University security services. 

 

The Committee acknowledged that in retrospect it would have been better to send the consultation letter to the Director of Estates at the University of Oxford for internal dissemination. They also felt that the content of the letter could have been clearer about the implications of the proposed PSPO for the landowner.The Committee then considered the arguments for and against amending the boundaries of the City Centre PSPO, having particular regard to the likelihood that more restrictive boundaries would lead to displacement of the anti-social behaviours.

 

The Director of Community Services said that he had met with a representative from the University Estates team who had confirmed their wish for the University land to be excluded from the City Centre PSPO, despite the risk of displacement of activities from the city centre. 

 

The Committee considered a proposal to change the boundaries of the City Centre PSPO to remove Oxford University land.  This proposal was not agreed by the full Committee or by a majority:

·         5 in favour of changing the boundaries of the City Centre PSPO

·         7 not in favour of changing the boundaries of the City Centre PSPO

 

Cllr Thomas raised a number of concerns about  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55


Meeting: 15/10/2015 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 90)

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The Executive Director Community Services has submitted a report which provides details of the consultation regarding a Public Spaces Protection Order for the city centre, and seeks approval of a draft Order.

 

Officer Recommendations: That the City Executive Board resolves to:

 

1.    Agree to make a Public Spaces Protection Order  under S 59 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 9 ‘the Act’) on the terms set out at Appendix One, for the area of the city centre shown on the map at Paragraph 28 for the duration of three years from a date to be determined by the Executive Director Community Services by reference to the installation of adequate public signage and statutory notifications in accordance with the Act.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Director Community Services submitted a report (previously circulated, now appended) which detailed the consultation regarding a Public Spaces Protection Order for the city centre, and sought approval of a draft Order.

 

Cllr Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Crime, Community Safety and Licensing presented the report. She reminded the Board that the current draft PSPO was the result of a long period of intense scrutiny from early 2015 and that it had been revised following robust and thorough review and in response to representations. 

 

The Environmental Protection Service Manager highlighted the main points of the report.  He explained that it addressed each of the proposed prohibitions and offered evidence for its inclusion and commented on how the offence would be enforced.

 

The Head of Law and Governance briefed the Board on the supplementary report (previously circulated, now appended) which addressed the representations submitted by Liberty in their letter of 9 October 2015.  The report also clarified the Council’s intentions with regard to the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for aggressive begging and detailed a proposed correction to the draft Order by replacing “make” with “complete” in Prohibition 1f).

 

The Chief Executive advised the Board that a representation had been received that afternoon from the University of Oxford stating that they did not wish the boundaries of the PSPO to include any University land.  He informed the Board that the University had been one of the 3000 landowners consulted.  He indicated that some of the prohibitions in the draft PSPO already had effect on University land.  He recommended that, if the Board were minded to approve the PSPO, they should do so in its present form and task officers to speak to university/college landowners about the practical implementation and enforcement of it.

 

The Chief Executive said that he had personally spoken to front line Council staff to understand the sort of issues they faced in dealing with anti-social behaviour in the city centre.  Based on their comments and on his own personal observations of incidents in the city centre he was confident that the powers afforded to the Council under the PSPO were necessary. He said that in the majority of cases the Council’s enforcement code was the starting point to changing behaviours and addressing the underlying problems which caused that behaviour.  The PSPO would provide Council officers with stronger powers to deal with the minority of cases who rejected the offers of support from the Council and other local organisations.  He assured the Board that the effectiveness of the PSPO would be subject to close scrutiny and monitoring.

 

Cllr Gant, Chair of the Scrutiny City Centre PSPO Panel, presented the report of the Scrutiny Panel (previously circulated, now appended).  He explained that the Panel had met on 5 October 2015 to consider the draft PSPO and that the Panel’s conclusions had been presented to the Scrutiny Committee on 6 October 2015.  He noted the City Executive Board responses to the Scrutiny Committee recommendations and reminded the Board that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90


Meeting: 06/10/2015 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 43)

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Background Information

 

An earlier version of the City Centre PSPO report was considered by the Scrutiny Committee on 2 June 2015 before the original decision was deferred.

 

The revised City Centre PSPO report is due to go to the City Executive Board for decision on 15 October 2015.

Why is it on the agenda?

 

For pre-decision scrutiny.

Who has been invited to comment?

 

Councillor Bob Price and Councillor Jean Fooks have been invited to attend the meeting in their capacity as political group leader.

 

Contact Officer: Richard Adams, Service Manager,

Environmental Protection

Tel 01865 252283, radams@oxford.gov.uk

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Board Member for Crime, Community Safety and Licensing and the Environmental Protection Manager presented the report on the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), explaining that the revised order had a stronger focus on specific behavioural issues.  They explained that a separate code of conduct for busking was being developed and that the focus of the PSPO was on street entertainment that caused a nuisance or obstruction. 

 

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee asked that the Committee limit their discussion to the remaining areas of concern, begging and busking, and not re-open the wider debate that had taken place at the City Centre PSPO Panel meeting and previous committee meetings and the Panel’s suggested recommendations.

 

Cllr Gant, Chair of the City Centre PSPO Panel referred the Committee to the notes of the Panel meeting held on 5 October 2015 (previously circulated, now appended) and summarised the main points of the discussion. 

 

The Head of Law and Governance briefed the Committee on the substantive points of his teleconference with Liberty on 6 October 2015.  He said that Liberty had welcomed the Council’s reconsideration of the PSPO but had specific and overarching residual concerns which they were likely to set out in a letter.  If received, this letter would be put before CEB for consideration.  In response to comments raised in discussion the Head of Law and Governance assured the Committee that the current draft PSPO was a permissible exercise of discretion and that the CEB report did address the issue of the application of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The remaining contentious issues reflected different philosophical approaches to enforcement.

 

The Committee heard arguments in favour of using Community Protection Notices rather than a PSPO or referring the nuisance behaviour to the police for resolution.

 

The Committee asked a number of questions, including why the boundaries of the PSPO included university-owned land such as the University Parks and Christchurch Meadow and why Council resources would be used to enforce in these areas.  The Environmental Protection Manager was asked to check the content of the Equality Impact Assessment with regard to sexual activity in public toilets.

 

The Committee noted the following suggestions:

·         that Thames Valley Police could be asked to contribute to the training of OCC enforcement officers

·         that officers should monitor the situation in another local authority which had included within its PSPO the requirement for dog walkers to carry “poo bags”

 

The Committee voted on a proposal to exclude section 1a, dealing with the behaviour of aggressive begging, from the PSPO.  This proposal was not agreed by a majority of the Committee. The minority who opposed the inclusion of aggressive begging in the PSPO felt that criminalisation of the activity (with the threat of fines that this included) was not the best, or a proportionate, means of tackling the problem.

 

The Committee voted on a proposal to exclude section 1e from the PSPO for one year pending implementation of the code of conduct for busking and a review  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43


Meeting: 05/10/2015 - City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order Scrutiny Panel (Item 2)

2 City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pdf icon PDF 212 KB

 

Background Information

 

An earlier version of the City Centre PSPO report was considered by the Scrutiny Committee on 2 June 2015 before the original decision was deferred.

 

The revised City Centre PSPO report is due to go to the City Executive Board for decision on 15 October 2015.

 

The Panel was established by the Scrutiny Committee to pre-scrutinise the revised City Centre PSPO in a one-off public meeting.

 

Why is it on the agenda?

 

For pre-decision scrutiny.  The Panel’s findings and any recommendations will be reported to the Scrutiny Committee on 6 October 2015. 

 

Who has been invited to comment?

 

-       Councillor Bob Price, Leader of the Council;

-       Councillor Dee Sinclair, Board Member for Crime, Community Safety and Licensing;

-       Richard Adams, Service Manager, Environmental Protection;

-       Jeremy Thomas, Head of Law and Governance.

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Service Manager for Environmental Protection updated the Panel on changes to the proposed city centre PSPO and said that it now had a stronger focus on specific behavioural issues.  The PSPO now covered aggressive begging rather than persistent begging.  It also made no mention of codes of conduct for busking and street entertaining or peddling.

 

The Head of Law and Governance advised that the previous PSPO decision had been delayed due to the fact that detailed legal opinion had been received from Liberty which warranted consideration, rather than due to the content of that opinion.  Liberty had been made aware that a new proposal was coming forward and officers would be holding a teleconference with Liberty the following day.

 

The Panel noted that the City Council should listen to respectable organisations such as Liberty and heard that there would be time for the Board to consider any further opinion from them, before any decision was taken.

 

In response to a question about the PSPO covering a large area and numerous behaviours, the Panel heard that it would be one of the larger PSPOs in the country and that most PSPOs cover a single issue.  The evidence test was whether a PSPO would tackle existing or likely issues.  The Panel heard that it was intended to be a preventative tool that set a standard of behaviour in the city centre.

 

The Panel noted that signage would be important and that some signs that were still in place in the city had been made obsolete legislative changes.  The Panel also noted that signage should be sensitive to its surroundings, particularly in conservation areas.  The Panel heard that signage needed to be proportionate and would be placed on the boundaries of the area covered by the PSPO, and at specific sites within this area.  Existing signage that would be superseded by the PSPO would be taken down.

 

The Panel discussed the measures relating to aggressive begging, including; the rationale and evidence base for a PSPO, the use and effectiveness of existing powers, whether a PSPO would make a positive contribution to helping people who were begging, whether begging near a cash machine was always aggressive, the perceptions of vulnerable people and those with English as a second language, and how a PSPO would work in practice.

 

The Panel heard that begging was strongly connected to substance abuse and that a carrot and stick approach could help officers to challenge behaviours such as aggressive begging and nudge people into support services.  The Panel questioned whether this was clear in the report. 

 

The Panel discussed whether the PSPO should cover the behaviour of aggressive begging.  One member was in favour of removing this behaviour from the PSPO altogether.

 

The Panel then considered whether the wording of section 1a of the Order should be amended.  A number of alternatives were considered but none were agreed.  One member was in favour of removing the reference to begging near a cash machine.  Two members were in favour  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2


Meeting: 11/06/2015 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 13)

13 Scrutiny Report_ City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pdf icon PDF 97 KB

The Scrutiny Officer has submitted a report which presents recommendations from the Scrutiny Committee on the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order.

 

Scrutiny Committee Recommendations to the City Executive Board

 

1. We recommend that an Enforcement Code of Conduct for Officers should be produced and that this code should be in place and in the public domain before any enforcement actions are taken under the City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order.

 

2. We ask the City Executive Board to note that a minority of the Scrutiny Committee opposed aspects of the PSPO most notably the inclusion of non-aggressive begging and busking in the PSPO.

 

3. We recommend that the existing ‘Code of Conduct for Busking and Street Entertaining in Oxford’ should be reviewed and revised to provide a more comprehensive “Guide to Busking and Street Entertaining in Oxford”.  This guide should be accessible to buskers, street entertainers, businesses and the public, and draw on examples of good practice from other cities, as well as input from stakeholders such as the Musicians Union.  It should be in place before any enforcement actions are taken under the PSPO.

 

4. We recommend that officers are instructed to look at the differential equalities impact of the PSPO proposals, for example the behaviour of sleeping in public toilets, having regard for example to safeguarding concerns for vulnerable adults.

Minutes:

Consideration of this report from the Scrutiny Committee to be deferred to a future meeting of the City Executive Board.


Meeting: 11/06/2015 - City Executive Board (became Cabinet on 13 May 2019) (Item 16)

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The Executive Director, Community Services has submitted a report which details the consultation regarding a Public Spaces Protection Order for the city centre and seeks approval of a draft Order.

 

Officer Recommendations: That the City Executive Board

 

1.     Considers the case for a Public Spaces Protection Order for the city centre; and

 

2.     If that case has been made, confirm or amend as appropriate the draft order and associated Codes of Conduct attached to this report;

 

3.     If the Order is made, to specify the date on which the Order is to come into force and the duration of the Order (maximum three years).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The City Executive Board resolved to AGREE to defer this item until a future meeting in order that the Council had sufficient time to consider the submission from the civil liberties and human rights organisation Liberty.


Meeting: 02/06/2015 - Scrutiny Committee (Item 8)

8 City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) pdf icon PDF 385 KB

 

Background Information

The Scrutiny Committee has asked for this item to be included on the agenda for pre decision scrutiny.

 

 

Why is it on the agenda?

The City Executive Board on 11 June 2015 will be asked to agree the report.  This is an opportunity for the Scrutiny Committee to provide comments to the City Executive Board.

 

Who has been invited to comment?

Councillor Sinclair and Richard Adams will attend to answer the Committee’s questions.

 

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Sinclair, Executive Board Member for Crime, Community Safety and Licensing and the Service Manager, Environmental Protection presented the report. She said that this was the second Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Oxford and that it was aimed at tackling long-standing problems of anti-social behaviour within the city centre. She said that it was the Council’s intention to be fair and balanced in its enforcement of the PSPO.

 

The Committee heard the following addresses:

 

Cllr Thomas: urged the Council to reconsider its position on busking as he believed that the consultation responses suggested there was no enthusiasm for such a measure. He suggested that the problems associated with busking would be better managed through use of a Community Protection Notice. He said that the Code of Conduct for Busking and Street Entertaining needed revision and referred the Committee to examples of documents produced in York.  Copies of the personal material circulated by Cllr Thomas at the meeting, but which do not form part of the Council report, are appended to these minutes.

 

Cllr Brandt: urged the Council to take a sensitive and collaborative approach with local organisations and communities to deal with anti-social behaviour issues rather than to introduce the PSPO.

 

Giles Payne of Crisis Skylight, Oxford - welcomed the Council’s decision to revise its position on rough sleeping and asked that they reconsider their position on begging.  He said that it would be difficult to differentiate between instances of rough sleeping and begging and questioned the practicality of imposing Fixed Penalty Notices.

 

The Committee asked a number of questions around: what powers PSPOs replace, alternative powers available to the City Council, the wording and interpretation of the PSPO, how evidence is gathered, the enforcement process, and how representative the results of the consultation were.

 

In discussion the following points were made:

 

Control of dogs and street drinking:  The Committee noted that there was a legal requirement on the Council to replace the existing city wide public space restrictions on dog control and street drinking. The inclusion of these issues in the PSPO was a replacement of existing provisions.

 

Begging: The Committee considered a proposal that ‘persistent begging’ should be removed from the PSPO.  A majority of members did not support this proposed change.  The Committee also discussed whether ‘persistent begging’ should be changed to ‘persistent and aggressive begging’.  A majority of members did not support this proposed change.

 

Enforcement: The Committee expressed concerns that enforcement was potentially quite a subjective matter and asked what guidance or rules were given to officers.  The Service Manager, Environmental Protection explained that the Council followed a 3 stage approach to enforcement:

1.    Early intervention & discussion

2.    Issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice

3.    Prosecution

He said that the preferred approach was always to take early action and speak to the individuals about the problem.  This was found to be the most effective approach when dealing with anti-social behaviour.  He offered to provide the Committee with a report detailing the breakdown  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8