£100 fines for tents, shouting and late-night fishing in South Shields riverside zone under new 'public space protection orders'

Council chiefs have backed new powers aiming to crack down on antisocial behaviour issues, from street drinking to late-night fishing – with up to £100 fines available for those who break the rules.

Friday, 16th April 2021, 1:29 pm

South Tyneside Council’s ruling cabinet approved a new set of Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) to help address both borough-wide and specific problems.

Offences include street drinking, the use of motor-propelled vehicles (such as scramblers, trail bikes, quad bikes and mini-motos) and taking psychoactive substances in public spaces.

Two extra orders also aim to address specific antisocial behaviour in the Broad Landing and Riverside areas, referred to as the ‘restricted area.’

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The Broad Landing area of South Shields is part of the restricted zone.
The Broad Landing area of South Shields is part of the restricted zone.

This followed reports of nuisance behaviour which has seen people pitching tents throughout the night, playing loud music, setting fires and even urinating and defecating close to homes.

Following approval at a virtual cabinet meeting on April 14, the new PSPOs will come into force from May 17, 2021.

The orders can be enforced by the police, police community support officers and any authorised officer of the council, with offenders risking a maximum £100 fine for flouting the rules.

The new rules aim to:

Damage to the wooden jetty after reports of antisocial behaviour at Broad Landing, South Shields, in 2020

:: Prohibit the use of mechanically (motor) propelled vehicles in public spaces (borough-wide).

:: Stop the consumption of alcohol in public spaces when requested to do so by a police officer, a police community support officer or an authorised officer of the council (borough-wide).

:: Prohibit the taking of psychoactive substances in public spaces (borough-wide).

:: Prohibit any person acting in such a way which causes, or is likely to cause, nuisance to people living in the locality, in particular, erecting tents, shouting, playing loud music, dropping and leaving litter, setting fires, urinating and defecating in the restricted area.

:: Prohibit fishing between 10pm and 6am in the restricted area.

The new orders for South Tyneside were drawn up following a consultation in January, 2021.

According to a report prepared for borough bosses this week, there were 38 responses received and “in general they were very supportive of the proposals to tackle anti-social behaviour” and the fishing restrictions along the riverside.

However concerns were raised about possible implications of the new PSPOs, such as action being taken against begging.

In a cabinet report, council officers acknowledged issues around begging are complex and that “more work is required.”

This includes “identifying the vulnerability of the perpetratorsand the options and opportunities with dealing with this ‘visible’ aspectof anti-social behaviour in a supportive but controlled manner.”

PSPOs were introduced under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and give councils and police additional powers and greater flexibility to tackle anti-social behaviour in defined geographical areas.

The new PSPOs for South Tyneside will run for three years from May unless extended by further orders in future.

Stuart Wright, head of environment at South Tyneside Council, previously said the orders would help tackle “persistent or continuing antisocial behaviour” in areas where concerns had been highlighted.

He added: “Anti-social behaviour has a detrimental impact on the quality of life of our residents not to mention the negative perception it can give of an area.

“It is important that we use whatever powers are available to us to ensure South Tyneside is a safe and welcoming place.”

Failure to pay a fixed penalty notice issued under the PSPOs may result in criminal proceedings with a maximum penalty of £1,000.

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