Anti-social behaviour fines in Swansea city centre but only as last resort

COUNCIL rangers are continuing to educate and warn people about their behaviour in Swansea city centre and have, as a last resort, issued two fines.

It follows the introduction of a public spaces protection order (PSPO), which gives local authorities – supported by police – extra powers to deal with anti-social behaviour.

The order has been brought in in a phased manner, with a focus on talking to people who are causing a nuisance and offering support to the vulnerable where appropriate.

For the last six weeks the order has been enforceable, with sanctions including a fixed penalty notice.

In response to questions by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the council said more than 20 formal warning letters had been issued to date and two fixed penalty notices handed out.

Sanctions are an option for people who, among other things, take legal highs, urinate in the street, beg, swear persistently and aggressively, and continue drinking alcohol away from licensed premises when asked to stop.

Council director Martin Nicholls said the order, which was introduced after a public consultation, was having a beneficial effect and that fines were a last resort.

It covers the city centre from High Street railway station in the north, Parc Tawe in the east, West Way and Dillwyn Street in the west, and part of Swansea Marina in the south.

Mr Nicholls said:

“Our activity in these early days of the PSPO has focused on talking with people so they understand the types of behaviour the scheme tackles – and to work with a range of trusted local agencies to consider appropriate support for individuals considered to be vulnerable.

“Since the scheme’s launch in December, this has resulted in more than 220 on-street discussions with people seen to be engaging in activity covered by the PSPO.”

He said city centre rangers now worked until 11pm on certain days and that they patrolled the new Copr Bay district, including the coastal park next to Swansea Arena. Rangers have also undertaken specialist training in topics such as dealing with individuals who have complex needs.

“We hope this order will help reduce anti-social behaviour whilst we continue to treat vulnerable people with sensitivity,” he said.

PSPOs have been introduced in other towns and cities where councils were satisfied that activities in a public space had or were likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the area.

Speaking in March, Russell Greenslade, the chairman of city business group Swansea Bid, said the order had been welcomed by members who, he said, were working hard to make the city thrive.

“The issue of anti-social behaviour is raised by businesses, consumers and visitors quite frequently and it’s important that we all do what’s necessary to improve things,” said Mr Greenslade. “Of course, there are complex issues at the heart of anti-social behaviour and I know all the agencies involved will carry out their duties in a sensitive and professional way.”

Richard Youle- Local Democracy Reporter

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