Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

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No. Item






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:


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.