PEOPLE are being asked for their views on laws to tackle problem street drinking and use of so-called ‘legal highs’ in public places across Leicester.
The city council successfully applied for a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) back in 2017, to deal with issues such as antisocial behaviour caused by street drinking or the use of new psychoactive substances (NPSs) anywhere within Leicester.
The order gives the police the powers to confiscate alcohol or substances from people who are causing a nuisance in a public place, under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.
Initially the PSPO was for a maximum term of three years, meaning it now needs to be reviewed.
As part of that review, Leicester City Council is giving people a chance to have their say on whether they think the PSPO should continue, and whether the measures are appropriate, proportionate or even necessary.
People will be able to give their opinions in an online consultation, which runs for seven weeks from September 28 to November 15, 2020.
The existing PSPO covers the whole city, including areas of parks that cross over into the county.
Police can request a person not to drink or take a NPS in public, can confiscate and dispose of it, and arrest the person if they fail to comply with the request. Breaching the PSPO can result in fines of up to £500 for public drinking, or up to £1,000 for using new psychoactive substances.
Leicester deputy city mayor for regulatory services, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: “The order that was granted back in 2017 has given us a valuable tool to tackle antisocial behaviour and other problems caused by public use of alcohol and psychoactive drugs.
“However these orders can only be made for a maximum of three years, meaning we will soon have to look to renew the existing order, and as part of that we want to hear people’s views.
“The use of PSPOs is a much quicker and simpler way for the police to deal with alcohol-fuelled antisocial behaviour, which consumes less time and resources than them making arrests for drunk and disorderly behaviour or public order offences.
“We would very much like to see their use continue over the coming years, but it is vital that we hear from people in the city before making that decision.”
Figures show that between January 2018 and January 2020, police in central Leicester alone used PSPOs to tackle alcohol or substance-fuelled antisocial behaviour on 573 occasions – 419 of them in the area around the Clock Tower and adjacent streets. In May 2020 PSPO powers were used a further 196 times in the city centre.
To take part in the consultation visit: https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/