Consultation on tackling drinking-related antisocial behaviour in public spaces

Closes 4 Jul 2021

Opened 24 May 2021

Overview

Hackney Council would like your views on the creation of a borough-wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) prohibiting alcohol related anti-social behaviour. This replaces borough-wide controls that have been in place since 2010.

Background

In 2010, a borough-wide Designated Public Place Order (DPPO) was introduced in Hackney. The purpose of the DPPO was to ensure that the consumption of alcohol in a public place did not cause disorder, nuisance or annoyance to members of the public. This DPPO automatically transitioned into a Public Space Protection Order in 2014 on 20 October 2017. 

As PSPOs can only last for a maximum period of three years the transitioned PSPO expired in October 2020.

New public space protection order

The Council is now proposing to introduce a new PSPO, which would give the police and authorised officers of the Council borough- wide authority to confiscate alcohol from a minority of drinkers whose excessive drinking causes problems for others in public spaces. 

To tackle long-standing anti-social behaviour and to help ensure it remains a place for everyone, the Council is also proposing to introduce a new PSPO which will include a ban on drinking alcohol in London Fields park. No decisions have been made at this stage, the Council is seeking your views on the proposals. A copy of the proposed order can be viewed at here.

In this questionnaire street drinking means the consumption of alcohol in public spaces.

Why is a PSPO to tackle anti-social behaviour related to street drinking required?

A PSPO can be made to deal with anti-social behaviour which has a persistent or continuing detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality. The Council can only impose restrictions which are reasonable and justified. The proposed PSPO is designed to ensure the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces without experiencing alcohol related anti-social behaviour. These powers are not intended to disrupt peaceful activities and are used explicitly for addressing nuisance or annoyance associated with the consumption of alcohol in a public place. Apart from the additional restrictions in London Fields, it will not be a criminal offence to consume alcohol within the designated area, an offence is only committed if the individual refuses to comply with an authorised officer’s request to stop drinking to surrender their container of alcohol.

A PSPO cannot be used to restrict the consumption of alcohol where premises are licensed for the supply of alcohol as licensing laws already include safeguards against premises becoming associated with nuisance and anti-social behaviour.

It is proposed to make the PSPO effective across all land to which the public have access across the borough.

Alcohol related anti-social behaviour can quickly escalate and have a significant and lasting impact upon communities. Whilst most residents, visitors or people living and working in the borough drink socially and behave responsibly, their right to enjoyment of our public spaces can be threatened by those who behave in anti-social manner, often this anti-social behaviour is linked to alcohol consumption.

The proposed PSPO will allow the Police and authorised officers to ask individuals to stop drinking and have their alcoholic drinks confiscated, if they are deemed to be acting anti-socially. It is an offence to fail to comply with a request to stop drinking or surrender alcohol including any opened or sealed containers in the area covered by the PSPO.

Why is the Council proposing a ban on the consumption of alcohol in London Fields Park?

We would like to ensure that London Fields park and the surrounding area remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone to enjoy. 

London Fields is a small neighbourhood park, yet in the last ten years, it has witnessed increasing levels of anti-social behaviour that means many local people feel excluded from being able to use the park. London Fields has experienced issues with large groups drinking in the park and surrounding area, which has led to unacceptable levels of anti-social behaviour, litter, public urination and defecation, impacting on local residents’ quality of life and their ability to use the park. The Council believes that these activities are linked to the consumption of alcohol which is why a ban is proposed for this
specific location.

Managing anti-social behaviour in London Fields is coming at a significant cost to the Council of over £300k, money which could be much better spent on other much-needed parks facilities.

The Council has already put extensive measures in place to manage anti-social behaviour issues at London Fields: recruiting additional enforcement officers and security staff to help ensure the park remains somewhere people can enjoy, installing large commercial waste bins at the park, opening toilets with additional cleaning, implementing additional summer waste collections earlier than usual, issuing nearly 200 fines for urinating and littering in May and June last year and printed dozens of banners reminding people of the guidance.
An injunction was issued on 4 July 2020 that temporarily banned alcohol from London Fields. This was due to unmanageable levels of ASB associated with alcohol consumption.

The injunction was only a temporary measure and it is hoped that the proposed PSPO will provide a longer-term solution to the problems of alcohol related anti-social behaviour in and around London Fields park.

The ban on the consumption of alcohol in London Fields doesn’t apply to The Pub on the Park, 19 Martello Street, London E8 3PE.  Alcohol bought in the pub can be consumed within the Pub’s premises.

How will the proposed PSPO be enforced?

London Fields Park:

• The proposed PSPO would prohibit the consumption of alcohol in London Fields park. This doesn’t apply to the Pub on the Park, 19 Martello Street, London E8 3PE. Alcohol bought in the pub can be consumed within the Pub’s premises.
• It would give the police or authorised Council officers the authority to request that someone in London Fields park stops drinking
• Once the request is made, a fixed penalty notice of £100 can be issued for failing to comply with an officer’s request to stop drinking or hand over alcohol
• The fixed penalty notice must be paid within a set time frame
• Breach of a PSPO (failure to pay the FPN) is a criminal offence, subject to upto a level three fine on prosecution (up to £1000).
• The police will work in partnership with the Council to ensure the effective enforcement of the proposed PSPO

For the rest of the borough, excluding London Fields Park:

• The proposed PSPO would give the police or authorised Council officers the authority to request that someone stops drinking if they are causing anti-social behaviour
• Once the request is made, a fixed penalty notice of £100 can be issued for failing to comply with an officer’s request to stop drinking or hand over alcohol
• The fixed penalty notice must be paid within a set time frame
• Breach of a PSPO (failure to pay the FPN) is a criminal offence, subject to upto a level three fine on prosecution (up to £1000)
• The police will work in partnership with the Council to ensure the effective enforcement of the proposed PSPO

How long would the proposed PSPO last for?

We are proposing that the PSPO lasts for three years, until 20 October 2023, at which point we would decide whether to renew it in consultation with residents.

Who do we want to hear from?

The consultation is open to all, but we would particularly encourage local people, businesses and visitors to Hackney to respond. We would particularly welcome responses from stakeholders responding on behalf of particular groups impacted by the proposed PSPO.

Have your say and what happens next?

We would like to hear your views on any aspects of the proposed PSPO. Please complete the survey and provide us with your feedback.

Please read the Equality Impact Assessment and the proposed order before giving us your views.

Further information:

For more information or if you have any questions about this consultation, please contact:

Tel: 020 8356 3000

Email: consultation@hackney.gov.uk

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the concerns and issues with street drinking/drinking in public spaces?

Street drinking is sometimes associated with anti-social behaviour, causing high levels of noise, rowdy and nuisance behaviour, harassment and intimidation of passers-by, as well as the littering of cans and bottles and urination in public spaces.

How long was the previous DPPO/ PSPO in place?

The Borough wide DPPO, (which transitioned to the PSPO), went live on the 24th May 2010. The aim of this was to reduce the amount of anti- social street drinking occurring within Hackneyand therefore lowering the number of residents’ complaints. Its aim was to ensure our public spaces are safe, improving the quality of life for residents and visitors. The Order was approved following public consultation during the last three months of 2009.

Can I be stopped or arrested for carrying alcohol in public spaces?

The proposed PSPO does not make it illegal to carry alcohol or to drink alcohol in a public place (apart from the proposed ban on drinking in London Fields); as long as drinking is done responsibly, the proposed PSPO will only be used to tackle alcohol related anti-social behaviour or disorder. Under these circumstances police will have the power to stop people drinking alcohol and seize or confiscate alcohol within the controlled area.

Would people still be able to drink or hold alcohol bottles outside pubs?

Yes. Apart from London Fields park, the proposed PSPO does not make it illegal to drink alcohol in a public place. However, if a person was to drink beyond the legal boundary of licensed premises and they do not stop drinking if asked to do so by an officer authorised by the local authority, police officer or police community support officer, then they could be at risk of regulation. Under the proposed PSPO, no alcohol can be drunk in London Fields.

What about street parties and events in parks?

Events within a public place authorised by a premises license or a Temporary Event Notice (TEN) will be excluded from the Police and Authorised Council Officers PSPO powers.

The proposed PSPO does not make it illegal to carry alcohol or to drink alcohol in a public place (apart from in London Fields park); as long as drinking is done responsibly, the proposed PSPO will only be used to tackle alcohol related anti-social behaviour or disorder. Under these circumstances police will have the power to stop people drinking alcohol and require a person to surrender their containers of alcohol.

How will the proposed PSPO be enforced?

If the person breaching the proposed PSPO fails to comply with the requirements of the order, they will be issued with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice and taken to court if the fine is not paid within the specified timeframe. A person guilty of an offence is liable on summary conviction to a fine up to £1000.

The proposed PSPO will be enforced by Hackney Enforcement Officers and the Police.

What areas in the borough are covered by the proposed PSPO?

The London Borough of Hackney is covered by the PSPO including parks and open spaces from the borders of Haringey, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Islington and the City of London.

Does the proposed PSPO ban drinking alcohol in public spaces?

The proposed PSPO will ban drinking alcohol within London Fields (only).

Apart from London Fields, it is NOT an offence to consume alcohol within the PSPO area, however; a Constable or Authorised Person can require a person to stop consuming what they believe to be alcohol and require that person to surrender any alcohol or container they believe contains alcohol. The Person must be informed that failure to comply with the Officer’s requirement is an offence. A Constable or Authorised Person may dispose of the in whatever way they think appropriate. 

What evidence do you have that the proposed PSPO is required across Hackney?

The Council & Police currently use the powers at their discretion to confiscate alcohol where necessary. The DPPO, (which transitioned into a PSPO), was in place for nearly eight years. In that time the number of complaints in respect of ASB from street drinkers has gone from a historic high of 609 in 2010 to 38 in 2019 (though an increase of twelve from 2018). The Council believes that the existence of the orders greatly assisted in reducing the amount of alcohol related anti- social behaviour in the borough.

No fixed penalty notices have been issued in the last 12-month period. To some extent this is due to compliance of the individuals when approached by the council and police. Hackney Enforcement Officers and Police Officers issue anti-social behaviour warnings prior to issuing FPNs for street drinking in an effort to deal with the problem in a proportionate manner.
 

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