News

5Oct
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Protecting the public - Have your say Sunderland City Centre

Consultation is getting underway for a Public Space Protection Order in central Sunderland.

The consultation follows a decision of the City Council's Cabinet to look at orders for tackling anti-social behaviour.

Proposals are designed to help stop and curb behaviour such as bin raking, alcohol consumption in a public place, dog control, aggressive behaviour connected with begging, plus street trading and unlicensed pedlars.

Please complete the survey, it will only take you a few minutes and you can comment on the proposals. 

The City Council's Cabinet, which met on Wednesday 21 September, agreed to begin the consultation on new Public Space Protection Orders.

Councillor Harry Trueman, Deputy Leader of Sunderland City Council, said: "Before making one of these orders, the council must carry out consultation with the police, the Police and Crime Commissioner, the owners and occupiers of any land included in the order which is not in council ownership, and wider consultation with representatives from the community.

"It's important people tell the council what they think of about the plans. The council has to update how it and others look after our city and help make it a cleaner, greener and safer place for all.

"The Public Protection Orders could be part of an update for how we look after all our neighbourhoods."

Sunderland city centre, and parts of the Millfield, Ashbrooke, and Hendon wards, subject to consultation, could see the first order. There could then be consultation for areas across Sunderland to also get orders.

Failing to comply with an order could see offenders issued with a £75 fixed penalty notice or fines up to £1,000.

The orders would tackle:

  • Alcohol - police and authorised officers have the power to confiscate alcohol in a public space excluding licensed premises where they believe it is causing or is likely to cause anti-social behaviour;
  • Begging - restricts any person engaging in anti-social/nuisance behaviour while begging. Begging includes any passive and active methods, including but not limited to, non-verbal signs, hand held out, written notice, or verbal attempts to exhort, press, pressure, urge the giving material help, assistance, food or money;
  • Bin raking - restricts any person engaging in bin raking. Bin raking is the searching and taking of any items whatsoever from rubbish bins, bags or items clearly left to be disposed of or belonging to another;
  • Street trading and peddling - restricts any person engaging in anti-social/nuisance behaviour whilst street trading;
  • Dog Control - prohibit dog fouling, exclusion of dogs to play areas and dogs on lead by direction;
  • Skateboard and cycles - prevent their anti-social use such as causing damage to property, or nuisance or annoyance to one or more persons.
  • Psychoactive substances - included as an option for consultation as possibly being still included in an order.

At the council's September Cabinet meeting, councillors had studied a report outlining some recurring city centre problems.

The report stated how bin rakers were 'littering the city and making the general area look untidy. Work is underway both from an educational and enforcement point of view with the businesses identified around waste management. The mess and damage caused by these individuals is costing the City Council substantive resources to correct and is also demand intensive for the Police due to the court process involved.

'Begging within the city centre has increased within the last 12 months. While we recognise that some beggars often need long-term help and support and referrals are made, they can be intimidating to the public and detrimental to businesses by putting shoppers off entering shops where they congregate.'

'It has been found that beggars within the city are from out of the area and seem to have been displaced from other Local Authority areas where action has been taken against them. Police have taken action against a few individuals who have been persistent and aggressive to visitors within the city centre after numerous warnings."

The consultation runs until Friday 25 November.