Bad behaviour bans set to go under the spotlight

Nitrous oxide canisters
It could become an offence to possess nitrous oxide canisters on council land

Banning bad behaviour and protecting the quality of life for those living, working and studying in the district is at the heart of a comprehensive consultation being launched this week.

Banning bad behaviour and protecting the quality of life for those living, working and studying in the district is at the heart of a comprehensive consultation being launched this week.

Canterbury City Council is reviewing its set of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) which gives its Enforcement Officers and the police the power to tackle the issues that can make people’s lives a misery and issue an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice (FPN) or fines.

Activities that could be banned that are not in the council's existing PSPOs could include:

  • Bringing or releasing any canister containing compressed gas such as nitrous oxide onto council-controlled land such as a beach, park, open space or car park
  • Lighting barbecues on the council’s beaches or open spaces
  • Taking glass onto a council-controlled beach
  • Flying or controlling a drone or a model aircraft near a council-controlled beach or an open space unless qualified
  • Bringing or possessing a firearm, air weapon or catapult into a council park or open space
  • Interfering with, trapping or attempting to trap or snare or disturb any wildlife on council-owned or controlled land

Leader of the Council, Cllr Robert Thomas, said: “PSPOs can be a valuable tool in our fight against nuisance behaviour which can make people who suffer from its effects absolutely miserable or simply furious because they end up spending the time and effort clearing after someone else’s excess and selfishness.

“They can also help us to protect the wildlife that lives its life on our land, like ducks living on the river in the Westgate Gardens from people using catapults.

“We have a completely open mind on whether we need to extend the scope of our PSPOs or pare them back, and genuinely want to hear what people think.

“Of course, there may also be problems we have not addressed and we want to hear about those too.”

Among other things, the current PSPOs ban:

  • Shouting, swearing or causing alarm, harassment and distress
  • Urinating or defecating in a public space
  • Graffiting and fly posting
  • Refusing to stop busking when asked to do so
  • Persistent begging
  • Littering
  • Refusing to stop drinking alcohol or handing it over when asked to do so

The council’s Head of Safer Neighbourhoods, Doug Rattray, said: “For an activity to be banned under our PSPOs we need evidence it is having a negative effect on people in the area and that its impact is persistent or continuing and unreasonable.

“We need the public’s help to compile this sort of evidence and this consultation encourages them to send it in.”

The public can comment on the consultation from Friday 10 July and need to respond by 30 August.

People without internet access can request a paper copy of the consultation by calling 01227 862059.

The results would then be presented to councillors later in the year for them to make a recommendation to the council’s Chief Executive who will make the final decision.

Published: 8th July 2020