Northampton public space protection order extended for further three years

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The PSPO over Northampton has been extended for three years, with two key amendments to busking and riding bikes and scooters

A protection order covering Northampton has been amended by the council to cut down on “nuisance” buskers, and other anti-social behaviours in the town centre.

The public space protection order (PSPO) will stay in place for three years, as councillors approved the measures at cabinet on Tuesday, December 12.

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Two new provisions were included in the order prohibiting people busking and continuing to ride a bike or scooter when a police officer or ‘council authorised person’ instructs them to stop.

The public protection order on Northampton has been extended.The public protection order on Northampton has been extended.
The public protection order on Northampton has been extended.

All five acts of ‘anti-social behaviour’ were carried forward from the previous PSPO including:

  • The use of intoxicating substances, including illegal or psychoactive substances
  • Possessing an item to use/take an intoxicating substance, this includes needles and smoking devices that are not e-cigarettes
  • Consumption of alcohol in unauthorised or unlicensed open areas, for example on streets
  • Urinating or defecating in public places, unless a toilet has been provided for that purpose
  • Spitting

Councillor Sally Beardsworth, ward member for Kingsthorpe South said: “I’m just a bit disappointed about the busking. I think some buskers can add a bit of entertainment to the street and make it sound more jolly, especially around Christmas time.”

The previous PSPO was introduced in 2020 to address issues of anti-social behaviour and stop people from committing such acts in Northampton. Councillor David Smith, cabinet member for community safety, engagement and regulatory services, clarified that buskers would only be told to stop if they were being a “nuisance” to the public.

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A six-week public consultation on the protection order highlighted people’s frustration with the level on enforcement of prohibited actions. Almost three-quarters of respondents said they had experienced at least one of the ‘nuisance behaviours’ within the last six months.

Cllr Smith said: “I’m pleased to bring forward that we have got funding from the Office of the Police Fire and Crime Commissioner to actually fund two PSPO engagement and enforcement officers.”

The consultation also revealed that nearly nine out of ten people were ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ concerned about the use of intoxicating substances and urinating or defecating in public spaces. Only 20 percent of people advised that they were concerned with busking.

The West Northants cabinet gave the extended PSPO the green light. All restrictions will remain in place for another three years and relevant signage will be put up around Northampton to inform people of the rules.