Tighter regulations to clamp down on anti-social behaviour in and around the town come in to force this week.
Hastings Borough Council (HBC) is changing its current anti-social behaviour public space protection order (PSPO) as a result of feedback organisations, businesses and councillors across the town. The changes to the antisocial behaviour PSPO were agreed by the council and the changes will be in force from this week
Colin Fitzgerald, lead councillor for environmental services said: “The existing anti-social behaviour PSPO came into force on June 12th 2017 following a public consultation process. The PSPO introduced a ban on specified types of anti-social behaviour in defined public spaces. Since then there have been changes to the type of anti-social behaviour in Hastings and where it occurs across the borough. So it was time to review and update the PSPO.
“The changes to the anti-social behaviour PSPO result from an analysis of complaints from residents, businesses and visitors to the town received since the existing PSPO came into force. The council has also listened to feedback from council services and local organisations, businesses and ward councillors to address the issues.”
These are the main changes:
- The requirement to surrender alcohol if requested to do so
If an enforcement officer such as a council street warden or police officer believes that the consumption of alcohol in a specified public space is already causing (or is likely to cause) nuisance or annoyance to a member of the public, they can require the person to surrender the alcohol to them.
This already applies across the whole borough and the council has decided that it be retained. But the definition is broadened to include “nuisance or annoyance, or alarm, or distress or harassment”.
- The prohibition on aggressive begging
This already applies across the whole borough, and the council has decided that it be retained, but that the definition be amended, so it definitely only relates to aggressive begging and not passive begging.
- The prohibition on general anti-social behaviour (ASB)
This currently applies to a large defined area of the borough covering much of Central St Leonards, the town centre, and the Old Town and much of the seafront including the pier. It prohibits shouting, swearing, screaming, or acting in a manner causing annoyance, harassment, alarm, or distress to any person.
The council is extending this clause to the whole borough to make it more flexible to take account of displacement. The new definition used in this ban will be amended to include “nuisance, or annoyance, or alarm, or distress or harassment” to be consistent with the other prohibitions in the PSPO.
- The prohibition on consuming alcohol in defined public spaces
This ban was originally introduced to deal with ASB connected with street drinkers. Unfortunately, some of the street drinkers moved to other areas causing nuisance, annoyance, alarm, distress and harassment to residents, businesses and visitors to these areas. The council is expanding the alcohol ban to cover a wider area to address the movement of street drinking to these areas.
- The prohibition on overnight sleeping in vehicles
This currently only applies to Cinque Ports Way as there was a lot of serious ASB associated with people sleeping in vehicles such as cars, vans and caravans in this area in 2016. The council considered extending this ban to other areas where it occurs. But official guidance on the use of these powers now says that they should not be used in relation to the homeless in this way. As a result of this and other feedback received during the consultation, the council decided not to extend this ban, and to remove it from the PSPO.
The council’s warden service will be closely supported by the police to enforce the ASB PSPO. Hastings Borough Council will also continue to ensure that vulnerable people with drink, drug and mental health issues are brought to the attention of other services such as housing, adult and children’s services, and specialist local health services.