To receive the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods & Communities’ report which provides a review of the use of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) across the City.
12.1 The Cabinet Member for Communities & Neighbourhoods, Councillor Watkins introduced the report and highlighted key elements.The Gloucester City Safe Manager added that the PSPO had been a useful tool in tackling the issue of street drinking in the City for both City Protection Officers and the Police, particularly with engaging people on the ban on street drinking.
12.2 Councillor Ryall thanked the Gloucester City Safe Manager for the written response he had provided to the Committee with respect to questions raised by Councillor Ryall. Following on from this, the Gloucester City Safe Manager responded to Councillor Ryall ‘s question around whether all instances of this were being reported to the police explaining that there were ongoing issues with reporting to the 101 telephone number which could have long waiting times. Nonetheless, there was access to the City Safe Secure System which escalated any instances into crime reports which would be automatically emailed to the 101 number and a crime would then be created. Recently, there were some good results with prolific shop lifters either receiving custodial sentences or criminal behavioral orders of up to three years with the police doing a good job of putting together these files. In addition, the yellow card system which was used for young offenders and prevented them from going through the criminal justice system was also working well.
12.3 In answer to queries raised by Councillor Hilton, Councillor Watkins, the Community Wellbeing Team Leader, and Sergeant Andrew Doyle advised as follows. Firstly, the alcohol-free zone did not extend to Kingsholm, however the city wide PSPO did cover alcohol related nuisance amongst other things. There were powers in place for the police, and several measures were being carried out to deal with these issues. For example, Police Officers worked on a rota basis to go to areas and had the powers to remove alcohol from people in order to prevent or stop a nuisance from occurring. However, residents were still encouraged to report any issues to ensure that they could be resourced accordingly. Secondly, it was highlighted that this was a complex issue with potentially other factors at play which had to be considered, such as the fact that some individuals who were in temporary accommodation did not have places to drink socially with friends. Therefore, it was not necessarily simply about having a PSPO, but also working with individuals to understand why there were issues. Nevertheless, Sergeant Doyle outlined that London Road was a key priority for the Police alongside the City Centre. As such, there was other work being carried out beyond the PSPO such as a three pronged approach which had been used with street beggars which initially started with working to support the individuals, and then having more punitive measures such as the Community Protection Notice as a last resort. Moreover, the police were also working with some of the temporary accommodation providers to tackle the problem. However, it was not always residents of these accommodation places who carried out the street drinking. Lastly, he explained that they fully supported the PSPO, however it was one of several measures which were available to them. Councillor Hilton thanked them for their responses and agreed that it was a complex problem which also required other positive actions.
12.4 In response to a query about other measures being undertaken, Sergeant Doyle explained that there was plain clothed work being carried out as an example. However, the issues at hand were complex, and hence there was other work being carried out such as in relation to drugs outreach.
12.5 RESOLVED; - that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee NOTE the report.