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Councillors Propose New Powers To Tackle Anti-Social Behaviour in Tavistock

West Devon Borough Council Hub Members will discuss a recommendation to introduce new powers to clamp down on Anti Social Behaviour

A shelf full of bottles of alcohol

Local people have made it clear they are fed up with anti-social behaviour in The Meadows. Now, when they meet on Tuesday 2 November, West Devon Borough Council Hub Members will discuss a recommendation to introduce new powers to clamp down on the problem.

If it is agreed to introduce a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO), anyone who does not stop the offending behaviour when requested to by an authorised officer could receive a fine or in some cases, be taken to court.

Before making a decision to press ahead with issuing a PSPO for The Meadows, Councillors will review the results of a public consultation held earlier this year. They will also examine evidence of anti-social behaviour in the area.

10 people took part in the public consultation, which ran from 4 August 2021 to 5 September 2021. All respondents were in favour of the measures proposed. Comments included: 

"It is wonderful to have such a good selection of pubs, restaurants and takeaways but there needs to be control over people who are anti-social and have no thought for others in the community."

"I am delighted at the proposal with regard to anti -social behaviour in The Meadows and surrounding area.  It would appear to be a few individuals that are giving the younger generation a bad reputation.  I would like to say that I have met some very mannerly and respectful youngsters ... I welcome any measures that can help to alleviate the problem."

"I fully back this proposal."

"As a Tavistock resident, I do agree that an ASB would be a good idea for the area shown in order to get control of the (small) number of people causing disruption and damage to properties in, and around, the Meadows park."

Local crime figures were examined whilst preparing the recommendation:

  • There have been 167 instances of anti-social behaviour reported in Tavistock over the past 12 months.
  • Anti social behaviour accounts for 31% of all crimes reported in Tavistock.
  • 38% of these reports originate from "The Meadows", totalling 11% of all reported crimes. 

West Devon Borough Council's Lead Member for Leisure, Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Tony Leech, said: "Strengthening our communities, and ensuring we have communities that people are proud of, is a core aim of the Council in our Plan for West Devon.  Listening to residents and actively working with partners to address issues like anti-social behaviour in The Meadows illustrates how we are putting these words into action.

"In this case, a lot of work had to be done first to make sure that a PSPO is an appropriate measure to take to deal with anti-social behaviour. This process involved consulting with the community and partners to identify the need for a PSPO, as well as taking into consideration evidence of anti-social behaviour in the past.

"Thank you to everyone who took the time to share their views this summer. It is clear that local residents, businesses and organisations support the proposed measures to manage anti-social behaviour and to help maintain a happy atmosphere in our town.  

"We want The Meadows to be safe and enjoyed by everyone and will not sit back and allow a small minority to ruin it for everyone else." 

What is a Public Space Protection Order?

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) deals with potential anti-social behaviour in an area, which could have a harmful effect on the quality of life for those in the local community.  The proposed PSPO for Tavistock is not a ban on the consumption of alcohol within the area and it also does not mean an automatic fine if you are found drinking alcohol in public in that area.

What a PSPO does give is the power to ban, or limit, certain behaviours. For example, if a person continues to drink alcohol after being requested not to by an authorised officer, they can be fined, or in some cases, taken to court. 

What is the proposal for Tavistock?

If agreed, the Order would impose the following restrictions in the designated area.

  • Anti-social behaviour
    • At all times, persons will not act in a manner that is causing or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress in the designated area.
  • Alcohol
    • Alcohol must be disposed of or surrendered if requested by an authorised officer

If agreed, the PSPO will be enforced by both the local police and Council officers.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly wrote to officers during the consultation. She said: "I'm acutely aware that in recent months the area has experienced issues related to anti-social behaviour and disorder. The impact of this behaviour should not be understated, and it is important that swift action is taken to ensure the safety and resilience of the local community.

"I believe that the dual restrictions on anti-social behaviour and alcohol that the PSPO would introduce will act as a useful preventative tool to intercept anti-social conduct and street drinking. It will send a message to offenders that such behaviour will not be tolerated."  

Issued 27 October 2021

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