About Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs)
PSPOs were created by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are intended to deal with any nuisance or problem in a defined area that is detrimental to the local community's quality of life. A PSPO can impose restrictions on the use of an area which applies to everyone. The PSPO is not an order to restrict anyone’s personal freedoms, but to help tackle anti-social behaviours, in this case those associated with street drinking and the inappropriate use of motor vehicles.
Failure to comply with a PSPO enables authorised enforcement officers to issue fixed penalty notices of up to £100 or the person could find themselves prosecuted. A breach is a criminal offence and there is a maximum penalty of a £1,000.
Current PSPOs in Dartford
1) Town Centre PSPO 2020
Dartford Borough Council first made the order for this PSPO in 2017 to address the anti-social behaviour caused by certain use of motor vehicles, unsocial drinking and other forms of anti-social behaviour which negatively impacts upon individuals and businesses in Town Ward. This order ended in 2019.
In March 2020 The Council sought the public’s views on renewing the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Town Ward. A positive response was received and the Council has now had the order renewed. This renewal of the PSPO lasts for another three years. A copy or the order, and the area it covers can be downloaded below
This PSPO will seek to control the following forms of anti-social behaviour:
- Intoxicating Substances
- Use of vehicles
- Other Forms of anti-social behaviour
At all times, persons will not in the Restricted Area (please see map above):
- urinate or defecate (unless in a toilet facility);
- swear, shout, or act in a threatening manner;
- act in a manner that is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress
For full details of all the restrictions imposed by the Town Centre PSPO please see the Order using the link above.
2) Nuisance Vehicle PSPO 2022
In March 2022 The Council sought the public’s views on implementing this PSPO across the entire Borough to help tackle persistent anti-social behaviour caused by certain use of motor vehicles, which negatively impacts upon individuals and businesses. A positive response was received and in May 2022 the Council approved the Order.
A copy or the order, and the area it covers can be viewed below.
This PSPO will seek to control the anti-social use of motor vehicles, some of these behaviours include, but not limited to:
- Driving in convoy
- Performing stunts
- Sounding horns (as to cause public nuisance)
- Revving engines
- Wheel spins
- Playing music (as to cause public nuisance)
- Creating significant public nuisance
- Engaging in any other activity that a reasonable person would consider to be “car cruising”.
FAQs: Public Spaces Protection Orders
What is a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)?
This is an area that can be designated by Dartford Borough Council where anti-social behaviour has been causing a nuisance or annoyance. In the designated area, Police, Police Community Support Officers and Council Officers have certain powers to help tackle the anti-social behaviour that is identified within the Order.
Will there be any extra policing to enforce PSPOs?
No. Kent Police will continue to patrol and respond to incidents as part of their community response. However the Council have recently delegated powers to the Accredited Civil Enforcement Officers that already work in the District which enables them to enforce the new PSPO.
What are the benefits of a PSPO?
The main benefits of a PSPO are to help tackle the anti-social behaviours that are highlighted in the Order. They are all aimed at making our Borough safer and a more pleasant place to be.
What is an 'authorised officer'?
An authorised person shall be a police constable, police community support officer or a designated Dartford Borough Council Officer who must be able to present their identity on request.
Will there be signs in Dartford Town alerting people to the new PSPO?
Yes. New signs will be located in designated areas to signify that there is a PSPO in operation.
What happens if a person cannot afford to pay the fine associated with the new PSPO?
It is helpful to understands that a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) is not a fine. Only the Courts have powers to fine and issue sanctions following a conviction.
A FPN is a tool that can be used in certain circumstances where an individual accepts that they have ‘broken the law’ but does not wish to be summoned to court and would rather pay a sum of money to discharge their liability for conviction.
If an individual either has no money to pay or felt that they were innocent, then they could then appear in front of a Magistrate and plead their case.
If they were found guilty then it would be up to the Courts to impose a sanction, and they would take into account their ability to pay.
If they were vulnerable or in need of support, then Dartford Borough Council would suggest to the court that a positive sanction would be more appropriate, for example accepting help for an addiction or engaging with Council or a charitable support service.