City Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)
- Meeting of Scrutiny Committee, Tuesday 6 October 2015 6.15 pm (Item 43.)
- View the background to item 43.
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,
Tel 01865 252283, email@example.com
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 of noise nuisance complaints. This proposal was not agreed by a majority of the Committee.
The Scrutiny Committee AGREED that the following comments should be referred to the City Executive Board:
1. That the Scrutiny Committee and PSPO Panel welcomes the changes to the current City Centre PSPO documentation compared to that of June 2015 as being a considerable improvement and notes that groups such as Crisis have welcomed these changes;
2. That the Scrutiny Committee and PSPO Panel supports the inclusion of the behaviours set out in sections 1 b, c, d, f, g and h, in the City Centre PSPO.
The Scrutiny Committee RESOLVED that the following recommendations be put to the City Executive Board:
1. That the design and placing of signage is considered by a cross-party group of members and that every effort is made to remove obsolete signage across the city;
2. That full consideration is given to any further views expressed by Liberty in relation to the revised City Centre PSPO;
3. That the City Executive Board notes that there was no consensus in the Scrutiny Committee or PSPO Scrutiny Panel for the inclusion at this stage of the behaviours set out in sections 1a and 1e of the draft PSPO;
4. That the City Executive Board inserts the word “reasonably” before the word “perceived” in section 1a of the draft PSPO; and
5. That the City Executive Board should clarify and define the meaning of the word “near” in section 1a of the draft PSPO as this would protect and assist officers enforcing the order.
- CEB City Centre PSPO report - October draft v4, item 43. PDF 212 KB View as DOCX (43./1) 912 KB
- Appendix 1 - draft PSPO, item 43. PDF 91 KB View as DOCX (43./2) 736 KB
- Appendix 2 - eConsult survey and results at 31 March 2015, item 43. PDF 17 KB View as DOCX (43./3) 16 KB
- Appendix 3 - PSPO The eConsult consultation survey and results as at 31March 2015, item 43. PDF 37 KB View as DOCX (43./4) 21 KB
- Appendix 4 - PSPO Crisis Skylight email and signatory list, item 43. PDF 21 KB View as DOCX (43./5) 18 KB
- Appendix 5 - PSPO consultation engagement methods, item 43. PDF 14 KB View as DOCX (43./6) 16 KB
- Appendix 6 - PSPO risk assessment - October 2015, item 43. PDF 18 KB
- Appendix 7 - PSPO Equalities Impact Assessment - October, item 43. PDF 157 KB View as DOCX (43./8) 164 KB
- Notes of PSPO Panel on 5 October 2015 v0.2, item 43. PDF 24 KB View as DOCX (43./9) 20 KB