Anti-social behaviour crackdown continues
Test Valley Borough Council has introduced a public spaces protection order (PSPO) as part of its continued crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the Town Mills pocket park, High Street and bus station areas of Andover.
The order covers the whole of the town centre and allows the police to take direct action in cases where individuals under the influence of alcohol cause a nuisance, disorder or annoyance to the public. It also enables the police to disperse groups that may be congregating in a particular area and they have already successfully dispersed a group of individuals congregating in the Town Mills pocket park on two occasions following the introduction of the PSPO.
The new powers also enable the police to issue a community protection notice (CPN) to problem individuals where necessary. Failure to comply with the order or notice constitutes an offence which can result in the individual being arrested or council officers issuing a fixed penalty notice. On 25 August, police issued a CPN to a man caught drinking alcohol, also in Town Mills pocket park. Police initially spotted the man drinking and made him pour the remaining alcohol away. When they returned 30 minutes later they found him drinking alcohol for a second time and issued the CPN.
In addition, the council’s housing team is working with the police and other partners including substance misuse and mental health teams to patrol target areas. These patrols will help to disrupt problem behaviour and offer assistance and advice to those who are vulnerable or rough sleeping. The first patrol took place on 17 August and further patrols are planned over the coming weeks.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North, said: “We have made it clear that we will do all we can to stamp out anti-social behaviour in the town. Andover is a great place to live and work and we will not allow it to be tarnished by the behaviour of a select few.
“We are sensitive to the fact that some of these people are homeless though there are a number of them who are choosing to refuse our offer of help. It is imperative that we take action as it is not acceptable that residents feel unsafe or nervous about walking through certain parts of the town. It is therefore important that we work with our partners to support them while making it clear that any anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated.
“I would urge the public to report any concerns regarding anti-social behaviour to the police via 101 to enable them to build evidence of the scale of the issue. We would encourage anyone wishing to support those living on the streets to donate money or supplies to the local agencies and charities that work with them, rather than giving directly to the individuals.”