GROWING problems involving street drinking and the use of catapults, slingshots and other weapons in Salisbury could see new powers introduced to help police tackle the issues.
Wiltshire Council is considering the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for Salisbury – plus the surrounding parishes of Laverstock & Ford, Quidhampton, Netherhampton, Wilton, Alderbury, Odstock and Coombe Bissett – following reports of anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the city.
A PSPO is a tool in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which provides wide-ranging tools and powers for local authorities to help tackle anti-social behaviour.
It gives councils the authority to draft and implement PSPOs in response to the ASB issues affecting their communities, provided certain criteria is met.
In Salisbury, the proposed order is designed to address two issues in the city. The first relates to the use of catapults, slingshots and similar items capable of launching a projectile which could cause harm or damage.
The second part of the proposed order seeks to address ASB linked to street drinking in the city centre, granting police powers to prohibit the drinking of alcohol or having open containers of alcohol in public places.
If implemented, it would mean catapults, alcohol and other items could be confiscated, with anyone refusing to obey the rules issued with a £100 on-the-spot fine.
Inspector Tina Osborn, from the Salisbury community policing team, said: “We are always keen to work with local partners to address any community safety issues across the Salisbury area, and we’d be very interested to learn more about the views of local residents through this consultation work.
“Tackling anti-social behaviour is a key priority for us, and this PSPO could be one tool for us to use to crack down on these sort of issues.”
The idea comes after an increase in street drinking and related anti-social behaviour being witnessed by the police and city council CCTV operators, the council said.
The PSPO would not however affect those licensed premises with outdoor seating.
Earlier this month, Wiltshire Police appealed for information after a car was reported to have been driving around Verwood, firing a catapult at drivers and property.
Residents and business owners can now have their say on the plans, to help the council establish whether the proposed PSPO is the right and proportionate action to take.
Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “Following feedback from Wiltshire Police, parish councils and local residents about anti-social behaviour in the city and surrounding parishes, we feel it is an appropriate time to consider the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order.
“As per our Business Plan, we want Wiltshire to be a place where people are safe, and the proposed PSPO hopefully reassures the public, particularly those directly affected, that we take issues such as this very seriously.
“I want to encourage people and business owners to take part in the consultation so we can gather the community’s thoughts and feelings on the issue before making an informed decision.”
The consultation runs for six weeks, until October 30, and all feedback received will be considered before any final decision is made, the council added.
People can find out more about the proposals, and take part in the consultation, at www.wiltshire.gov.uk/article/5038/Salisbury-PSPO-Order.