Booze, drugs and... bins: Leeds council seeks orders to tackle anti-social behaviour

Orders designed to prevent anti-social behaviour fuelled by alcohol look set to be renewed in 18 locations across Leeds.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 3rd July 2017, 12:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 7:58 am
Public Space Protection Orders ban street drinking.
Public Space Protection Orders ban street drinking.

They ban people from drinking alcohol or having alcohol in an open container while in certain streets and public spaces, with penalties of up to £100 for those caught breaking the rules.

And in some places the scope of the orders could be extended to tackle the blight of former ‘legal highs’ and even ban people from leaving their bins in the street outside set hours.

Changes in the law mean that every local authority in the country must decide whether to simply withdraw existing Designated Public Place Orders (DPPOs) or replace them with the enhanced Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).

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A PSCO attends to a man suspected to have taken drugs including Spice.

It has prompted a review by Leeds City Council and other agencies, who are now asking the people of Leeds to share their views.

Currently there are 18 DPPOs which cover most of the city centre as well as parts of suburbs or towns such as Armley, Farsley, Gipton, Guiseley, Headingley, Horsforth, Otley, Wetherby and Yeadon.

They were introduced as a specific response to the problems caused by individuals and groups gathering and drinking in the street.

Residents and businesses had complained about anti-social behaviour, littering and people urinating in public.

In Harehills and Armley, the orders could also include rules about household waste.

The council, West Yorkshire Police and other community safety organisations in the city have been provided with evidence of anti-social behaviour in each of the 18 DPPO areas.

They believe that replacing them with PSPOs will help continue to address concerns caused by alcohol or psychoactive substances, which mimic the effects of illegal drugs such as cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamine, and cannabis.

The sale, import and production of psychoactive substances, formerly known as ‘legal highs’, was only banned in May 2016 but possession is not illegal.

However, the most notorious of these substances – Spice – was reclassified later as a Class B drug along with other synthetic cannabinoids, so possession of those particular psychoactive substances is illegal.

Coun Deborah Coupar, Leeds City Councils executive board member for communities.

Coun Deborah Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for communities, said: “Having looked at the evidence I can see merit in replacing our 18 DPPOs with PSPOs.

“This will form part of our overall strategy and continued work to tackle anti-social behaviour in public places where problems exist.”

Anyone caught with ‘intoxicating substances’ in an area covered by a PSPO could be asked to hand them over by an ‘authorised person’ such as a police officer or council officer.

This would include alcohol in all 18 areas and psychoactive substances in the city centre.

A PSCO attends to a man suspected to have taken drugs including Spice.

In Harehills and Armley, failure to comply with household waste terms set out in the orders will be an offence too.

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The authorised person can issue a fixed penalty notice of £100, or can make an application to the courts where a large fine could be imposed.

Answering potential concerns about the orders being used against vulnerable people, the council said it would continue to work with those who provide support for individuals.

It also pledged to “engage with alleged offenders appropriately and signpost them to relevant support services”.

Evidence about the need for the PSPOs, including the consultation results, will be presented to the council so that a decision can be made before the October deadline.

In Harehills and Armley, the orders could also include rules about household waste.

Coun Coupar said: “Before any final decisions are made, I want to hear from the people of Leeds on this proposal. With that in mind a public consultation survey is now open and I would like to encourage Leeds residents to take part before the deadline of July 16.”

Coun Deborah Coupar, Leeds City Councils executive board member for communities.