A protection order designed to make the town centre a clean and safe place has been extended by Swindon Borough Council.
The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) was initially made back in November 2015 and was intended to prevent dogs being walked without leads, the open consumption of alcohol, begging, skateboarding and cycling.
These were seen as the main sources of public disturbance and the PSPO was created to encourage people to change their behaviour to make the town centre more appealing to all who use it.
After regular enforcement efforts by specially trained officers from the Council, Wiltshire Police and inSwindon, the order has been extended for a further three years until 8 November 2021.
Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Public Safety, said: “We have agreed to extend the PSPO for an additional three years to ensure the town centre remains a safe and welcoming place.
“We know that the vast majority of people visiting the town centre do not cause problems, but we need to continue this process to ensure a positive environment for all.
“I hope this reassures shoppers and local businesses and shows them we are actively working to make Swindon a better place.”
A recent public consultation found that 86 per cent of those polled were in favour of extending the order. Also, 89 per cent were found to be in favour of keeping the order’s original conditions.
Over the three years in which the order has been active, the Council and Wiltshire Police have offered advice, information and guidance to thousands of individuals.
The Council and its partner agencies consider the PSPO useful in setting a clear standard of what behaviour is acceptable in the town centre.
PC Paul Bezzant, Wiltshire Police’s Town Centre Community Co-ordinator, said: “We welcome the renewal of the PSPO which has been achieved through listening to the community and working with the Council.
“The opportunity to enforce this through accredited people, supported by us, will assist in keeping the town centre clean and safe.”
After an initial warning, an offender can be issued with a £100 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) if they continue to breach the order. To date, there have been no FPNs issued, but from January to July this year alone, more than 2,200 members of the public were spoken to for contravening the order.
Di Powell, inSwindon BID CEO, said: “We welcome the news of the renewal of the town centre PSPO. Providing a safe and welcoming shopping experience is a priority, particularly at a time when UK high streets are facing unprecedented challenges.
“The BID’s Street Team will continue to educate town centre visitors and we would welcome the appropriate enforcement action being taken for persistent offenders whose anti-social behaviour continues to mar the town centre.”
The town centre PSPO contributes towards delivering one of the Council’s key Priorities, Priority 3, which seeks to ensure the town’s streets and public spaces are clean and safe at all times.