Reading Borough Council (RBC) Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee chaired by Katesgrove councillor Sophia James met on 15 November and heard a report on anti-social behaviour in Reading. This included a proposal to introduce public space protection orders (PSPOs) in Reading.
RBC’s anti-social behaviour team received 221 cases of personal anti-social behaviour in the year ending 31 March 2017. This was a reduction of 40, or 15%, compared with the previous year.
RBC reported that begging, rough-sleeping, drugs and unauthorised camping on local authority land is increasing. They are considering additional restrictions in which parts of Katesgrove and Redlands east of Elgar Road and south of Christchurch Road could be covered by PSPOs.
Street drinking restrictions (street drinking designation orders) are already in place in the town centre, including London Street in Katesgrove, and west along Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road. In these areas the police have the power to request someone stop drinking where there is drunkenness or antisocial behaviour.
RBC proposed to end the current orders and bring in additional restrictions in new wider ranging PSPOs which would be enforced by a range of authorities:
- begging (enforced by Thames Valley Police),
- busking (enforced by Environmental Protection or Streetcare),
- dog control (Environmental Protection),
- drug activity (Thames Valley Police),
- public urination and defecation (enforcement not identified),
- street drinking (Thames Valley Police),
- litter (Streetcare),
- motorbike nuisance (Thames Valley Police),
- mooring (Parks).
Lead councillor for neighbourhoods Liz Terry said [at 02:07:40]:
It’s really important that we have a very successful town centre both in the daytime economy and the nighttime economy and we need to ensure that ourselves and the police and others have the powers in place to ensure that it’s a safe and welcoming place to come… We will make sure that we’re not just treating vulnerable people as criminals.
It’s striking that right balance about having a decent, lawful, safe and welcoming place to live and work and shop and also acknowledging that we’re living in times when people are really just are so vulnerable to crime, to gangs, to other things, to drugs and we need to find a way where we can continue to offer services to take them out of those terrible situations.
There will be an online consultation on these additional restrictions and the geographical area that they should cover. RBC also intends to consult with “… Liberty, the National Bargee Travellers Association, commissioned services working with the street population, other relevant voluntary and faith sector agencies, the Business Improvement District and the Neighbourhood Action Groups.”
- Housing, Neighbourhoods and Leisure Committee 15 November 2017 papers & webcast
- Anti-social behaviour
- Public Space Protection Orders
- Street Drinking Designation Orders
- Slough PSPOs
- Oxford PSPOs
- Liberty – PSPOs
- National Bargee Travellers Association
- Reading Business Improvement District