Several areas of Birmingham are about to become zero tolerance zones for troublemakers and those intent on causing antisocial behaviour. Officers from Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police have used recent legislation in a bid to prevent individuals and groups acting anti-socially within key locations in the city centre. Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) – meaning anyone caught committing a criminal offence could still be arrested and charged with a criminal offence - is not a replacement for anyone caught breaking the law - anyone caught committing a criminal offence could still be arrested and charged with a criminal offence.
As from September, it is an offence to do anything which breaches the order as detailed in Washwood Heath and Glebe Farm in Birmingham.
This means groups of three or more people engaging in activities which are likely to cause nuisance, annoyance, harassment, alarm or distress. Including, but not limited to verbal abuse, violence, threat of violence or alcohol related violence.
Having in possession open cans, bottles or other unsealed containers containing alcohol, ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or possessing intoxicating substances and carrying out graffiti on any surface within the restricted area.
The additional prohibitions of; using motorbikes, quad bikes and mini motos in an illegal and/or an antisocial manner and earing face coverings in order to conceal identity including scarves, balaclavas and masks but excludes motorbike helmets while riding motorbikes, quad bikes and mini moto’s in an illegal and/or antisocial manner apply to the Glebe Farm area.
The prohibitions for the Moseley & Kings Heath area are: An adult (over 18) is prohibited from remaining (either individually, or a group of two or more people) within the restricted after an authorized person has requested that the group dispersed, a person is prohibited from being verbally abusive, using or threatening the use of violence to any other person within the restricted area, a person (over 18) is restricted from having in possession open cans, bottles or other unsealed containers containing alcohol and an authorised officer may request that any person likely to cause alcohol related violence stops drinking alcohol.
A person (over 18) is also prohibited from refusing to stop drinking alcohol when asked to do so by an authorised officer, is prohibited from ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or possessing intoxicating substances and is required to surrender any goods, items and materials that are being used, or are likely to be used, to engage in unauthorised graffiti related activity within the restricted area.
PSPOs specify an area where activities are taking place that are likely to have a detrimental impact on the local community's quality of life. There had been a growing issue identified by residents and organisations based in these areas. Groups of people would congregate; intimidate residents, drink & use of off road bikes illegally. Local feedback suggested that the issue had worsened over the last few months.
Local councillors worked proactively with local businesses and residents to make sure that these issues were addressed.
Councilor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality, said: “Residents and businesses in the local areas affected by the PSPOs took part in the consultation over the proposed Public Space Prohibition Order (PSPOs) to address anti-social behaviour in this area, in particular unlicensed street drinking.
PSPOs are an important tool in tackling anti-social behaviour which provide support for both council and police officers when confronting individuals causing nuisance in local areas. These orders should hopefully bring some respite to residents, allowing them to live their daily lives without facing harassment and intimidation.”
Leaflets will be delivered within the area to raise awareness of the PSPO which will last for 12 months until September 2017. Signs will also be erected marking the PSPO area and telling people about the order.
Superintendent Bas Javid, from Birmingham East Police, said: “PSPOs are a fantastic way to let everyone know that anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated and action will be taken against those who behave in an unacceptable way.
Birmingham now has a number of PSPOs in place to help us tackle anti-social behaviour in all of its forms with our ultimate aim being to change people’s behaviour and create a better place for law-abiding citizens."
Anyone who breaches it could receive a £100 fixed penalty notice or for repeat/serious breaches, be summoned for prosecution of a criminal offence and punished further in line with the legislation.