New powers plan to curb bad behaviour in Doncaster town centre

Doncaster town centre
Doncaster town centre
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Tough new powers to crack down on anti-social behaviour in Doncaster town centre are being discussed by official agencies.

Police and bosses at Doncaster Council are understood to have discussed the possibility of drawing up a legal order which would offer police new powers to act against people who are creating a public nuisance.

It follows complaints from the public and businesses over issues including street drinking and aggressive begging in the area, which has already led to court cases.

Police have increased the number of officers in the area as a response, and have brought in community policing in the area.

Now officials are discussing a possible a Public Space Protection Order. Doncaster Council has declined to comment, but senior police officers have been made aware of plans.

Public Space Protection Orders are used to regulate activities in particular public places that can have a detrimental effect on the local community. They can help by giving local councils and local police additional powers to tackle antisocial behaviour in specific locations.

A PSPO has already been put in place in Barnsley town centre. Officials there say it allows measures to be put in place to deter anti-social behaviour whilst making sure that the appropriate support is available to protect some of the most vulnerable people in society.

One has also previously put in place in Doncaster to deal with nuisance behaviour in Hexthorpe.

Doncaster Police Supt Neil Thomas said incidents of antisocial behaviour in the town centre were already beginning to reduce following the measures the force has already taken.

He said he expected a new PSPO order would give officers more powers to take action on town centre issues.

He said: "Enforcement work is continuing and the number of complaints is falling. We've had positive feedback from the public and market traders."

Action in the town centre is currently seeing police work with other agencies including health, social services and homeless charities so that they are referred on for help, rather than just arrested.

This issue of antisocial behaviour in the town centre has previously been an issue raised as a concern by town centre businesses, with concerns over how it affects trade and the number of people visited the town centre.

It was also one of the issues which was raised by market traders with bosses who are planning the redesign of the markets area

Chief executive of Doncaster Chamber, Dan Fell, said: "The business community understands the complexity of the problems around the town centre and the shops and businesses would be extremely sympathetic to the challenging life circumstances some of the people have."

"However, the town centre is an important part of the economy and is a bell weather for a successful town, and therefore there is a need to tackle anti-social behaviour there. Businesses will be heartened to see partners taking a tougher stance and creating a town centre that everyone can be proud of."