Published Friday, 23rd February 2018
Four months after the borough's first Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) came into force in Redhill town centre, the Council has seen a reduction in anti-social behaviour there.
The PSPO gives the Council and police additional powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in Redhill town centre by prohibiting specific activities that negatively affect the local community. Distinctive blue and white signs list the behaviours, which include acting in an anti-social manner, harassment and being verbally abusive.
Deterring anti-social behaviour
The Council’s partners, including the police, say that the PSPO has been an effective tool to deter rather than to punish. Councillor Graham Knight, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Executive Member for Community Safety says: “Neither we or the police have had to issue any fixed penalty notices in the town centre since the PSPO came into effect. Instead, the order helps our officers and the police draw people’s attention to activities that were making parts of Redhill an unpleasant place to be. The prospect of a fine or being asked to move on from the town centre, both of which the PSPO enables us to do, acts as a deterrent to those carrying out anti-social activities.”
Surrey Police’s Reigate & Banstead Borough Inspector Angie Austin says: “Since the PSPO came into place, anti-social behaviour calls and complaints in Redhill have reduced to a more manageable level. It allows officers to have an immediate impact, enabling more efficient use of resources. Young people are now able to enjoy visiting the area rather than be subject to anti-social behaviour and intimidation from those who were visiting for the wrong reasons.”
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council also says that fears that problems would simply displace anti-social behaviour appear unfounded. “We saw the potential for people to simply carry on with the same behaviours elsewhere so we worked with our partners in other services to be ready to engage with people but this does not appear to be necessary,” says Cllr Knight.
Addressing local people's concerns
The PSPO came about after businesses and residents raised concerns about levels of anti-social behaviour at various times of the day and evening. Working with the police and businesses such as McDonalds and following public consultation last summer, Reigate & Banstead Borough Council introduced the PSPO in October to an area covering the pedestrianised shopping centre, Memorial Park, Marketfield Way and selected surrounding streets.
Signs in the town centre list the regulated behaviours. A map showing the area covered is on the Council’s website.