Public Space Protection Order to tackle town centre issues

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) has been introduced in Doncaster town centre to provide help and support to vulnerable members of the community, deter anti-social behaviour and address aggressive begging.

The PSPO, developed by Doncaster Council’s Complex Lives Alliance, will see police and different local authority partners, working together with the council to address issues of concern and implement the order.

The Complex Lives Alliance was established in 2016 to help members of the public who are homeless or rough sleeping get access to help and support. This support includes providing financial assistance, housing aid, temporary accommodation and specialist support to help those in need.

The work of the alliance, which involves South Yorkshire Police, the council, St Ledger Holmes, RdASH and Riverside, has seen a positive improvement made to the lives of vulnerable members of the community and the introduction of the PSPO will further aid this work.

Now the PSPO is in place the local community will see an increased high visibility presence within the town centre as officers and support staff conduct patrols, engage with the community, deter anti-social behaviour and provide support.

Chief Inspector Jayne Forrest who has been involved in the development of the PSPO has said: “Our priority is to ensure we are protecting vulnerable people, keeping everyone safe and working to make Doncaster a happy and enjoyable place to live. By working with and supporting our partners to implement the PSPO, we hope we will be able to achieve this.

“I hope this illustrates our commitment to creating a happy and safe environment for everyone to live in and I hope our local communities feel reassured by this action.”

Cllr Chris McGuinness, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “The introduction of the PSPO is something that the majority of residents who responded to the consultation said they wanted to see in the town centre. The PSPO will be another tool to use to help those who may find themselves homeless or rough sleeping. We will be working with our partners to encourage people to get the help and support they need.

“However, we will not allow the continuation of the anti-social behaviour that is currently taking place in the town centre. For those who continue to breach the PSPO and who do not want to access support offered we will take direct action and they could receive a fixed penalty fine of £100.”

Cllr Nigel Ball, Cabinet Member for Public Health, Leisure and Culture said: “Homelessness is now a major issue in all towns and cities across Britain. Since 2010 homelessness has increased by 134%, over 1 million people use food banks in Britain regularly and we have an appalling position in that latest projections show that ‘children classed as living in poverty’ are expected to rise to 5.2 million within the next five years. This is ‘austerity’ in action and its consequences. Doncaster will do what it can to work with agencies and organisations within ‘Complex Lives’ to support our most vulnerable people”.

Stuart green service Manager at Aspire Drug and Alcohol also commented on the purpose of the order. He said “We want to support people to live meaningful lives free from the chains of addiction, and create a healthier Doncaster for all”