Repeated reports of anti-social behaviour in Walton-on-Thames Town Centre to Surrey Police were seen by the Council as having, or likely to have, a detrimental effect on the community’s quality of life. As a result, Elmbridge Borough Council implemented a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for a specified area of Walton-on-Thames, which came into force on 1 March 2018. Since the introduction of the PSPO, there has been a 29% reduction in reported incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Following its success to date, Elmbridge undertook a public consultation on extending the PSPO for a further two years, where over 400 responses were received. Of the responses received, 99% were in favour of the order being extended for a further 2 years until 28 February 2021.
The PSPO enables Elmbridge Borough Council to impose restrictions in a particular area with the aim of stopping individuals, or groups, committing anti-social behaviour in public spaces. Since the introduction of the PSPO, recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in Walton Central have reduced significantly. Between April 2018 and December 2018, there have been 180 recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour by Surrey Police. This equates to 74 fewer recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour between April 2018 and December 2018 (inclusive) compared to the same period in the previous year. This includes a reduction in rowdy, inconsiderate behaviour. However, there have been minor increases in reported incidents of street drinking and drug litter respectively. At this time, no warning letters or fines have been issued.
Councillor Andrew Burley, Portfolio Holder for Community and Social Affairs says, “Part of the process for implementing a PSPO required public consultation on the proposed restrictions and requirements. Elmbridge received overwhelming support from residents, businesses and other stakeholders for the order which has been successful in reducing reports of rowdy and inconsiderate behaviour, and concerns about intimidating groups, substance misuse, and graffiti, whilst also improving feelings of safety for residents, shoppers and visitors generally. It was resolved by Cabinet in February 2019. We have established some regular youth outreach work in the town and a boxing club has now started at Walton Youth Centre.”
Borough Commander, Inspector Dallas McDermott says, “Recorded incidents of anti-social behaviour in the Borough are in reduction compared to this time last year. Incidents in Walton-on-Thames have shown marked improvement in particular. We will continue to work in close partnership with the Council and other agencies to ensure that improvements continue to be made.”
An extension to the existing Public Spaces Protection Order comes into force on 1 March 2019 and will be in place until 28 February 2021.
Find out more about the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in Walton-on-Thames.