Councillors support new powers to tackle nuisance behaviour in Thetford

Thetford town centre
Thetford town centre

Breckland councillors have today given their backing to new powers that will help tackle anti-social behaviour in Thetford.

Under new legislation, the council’s Designated Public Place Orders – more commonly known as alcohol exclusion zones – will automatically become Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in October.

These new PSPOs are more flexible and can be used to place restrictions on a wider range of persistent anti-social behaviours.

This morning members of Breckland’s cabinet endorsed the use of PSPOs in prohibiting three activities in public places within the town centre – alcohol consumption, urination and defecation, and the use of bicycles, skateboards and scooters in pedestrianised zones.

The activities were proposed based on feedback from Norfolk Police and Thetford Town Council, and were consulted on earlier this year, with 450 responses received.

Ninety-five per cent of respondents said they wanted to see alcohol consumption and urination and defecation prohibited, with 95 per cent and 67 per cent of people respectively saying they had witnessed people doing it persistently.

A total of 86 per cent wanted to see pedestrianised zones obeyed, with 84 per cent reporting having persistently seen bikes, skateboards or scooters used in them.

Spitting in public was also raised as a concern by as many as 45 people, and it was agreed this should be monitored with a view to adding it as a prohibited activity at a later date.

Paul Claussen, Breckland Council’s executive member for place explained: “We are using the new powers to strengthen current restrictions and make all our town centres more welcome for the majority of law-abiding people.”

He added: “Those living and working in our market towns have the best on-the-ground knowledge of what is happening there. They know where, when and what the ongoing problems are and we are keen to use their knowledge to develop PSPOs that will help address issues in our other four market towns.”

Full council will have the final say on this on July 27.