New powers to help tackle Anti-Social Behaviour

PR2206/KW/MF - 19/02/2019

Mid Sussex District Council has adopted new powers to help combat anti-social behaviour issues in the District.

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 gives local authorities the right to issue Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) and Community Protection Notices. The powers provide additional tools to challenge persistent and unreasonable behaviour that is having a detrimental impact on the community.

Mid Sussex District Council approved the use of Public Space Protection Orders and Community Protection Notices as a tool to limit anti-social behaviour at a meeting of Cabinet on Monday 11 February.

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is an enforceable bylaw that can be used to restrict certain anti-social behaviours within a specific area. PSPO powers could be used in Mid Sussex to tackle car cruising and anti-social vehicle use or anti-social and nuisance behaviour by children and young people, which has been increasing across the District.

The specific terms of each order are agreed with the local community via public consultation before they are introduced. Once PSPO restrictions are in place, any breach of the Order is immediately criminal in nature and could lead to a fine via a Fixed Penalty Notice, confiscation of relevant items or a prosecution with custodial sentence.

Community Protection Notices (CPNs) are designed to have a broad use and focus on how victims and communities are affected by Anti-Social behaviour. A notice can be served on any individual or organisation that is persistently having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of people nearby.

When using CPN powers the first step is to issue a Community Protection Warning, which sets out conditions that must be met and usually lasts for a period of 12 months. If the conditions set out in the Warning are not adhered to a Community Protection Notice can be issued, which carries criminal sanctions if breached.

The powers are designed to tackle low level anti-social behaviour which, while it may not be criminal, still causes significant concern for residents, businesses and visitors to Mid Sussex. They will be agreed and enforced jointly by the Council, Sussex Police and other relevant agencies.

Councillor Norman Webster, Cabinet Member for Community said:

“Community Protection Notices have been introduced successfully in other parts of the country and are a useful tool because they provide an opportunity to modify behaviour before it escalates into criminality. The warning stage allows for signposting to professional support and encourages a positive change in behaviour.

“The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act powers are in addition to all existing legislation and will provide greater flexibility in addressing persistent Anti-Social Behaviour. These powers obviously won’t be able to resolve all crime and anti-social behaviour in Mid Sussex but they will help the Council to work with partner organisations in tackling the most persistent, unreasonable and impactful anti-social behaviour.”