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Town centre ban on begging and street drinking proposed by council

Tuesday 20th September 2016

A ban on begging and drinking in public places could be brought in across Maidstone town centre.

The borough council is proposing to introduce Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) to crack down on anti-social behaviour including street drinking, littering and “verbal intimidation by beggars”.

The order would mainly cover the High Street ward but potentially parts of Bridge, Fant, East and North could be affected, depending on the area agreed.

The report says: “A PSPO is an order designed to stop anti-social behaviour being committed in a public place. They can cover a wide range of behaviours and enable Local Authorities to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a particular area that is detrimental to the local communities’ quality of life.”

Anyone who breaches the PSPO order could be liable to a fine or taken to court where an injunction banning that person from the area could be granted.

The number of reports to police of anti-social behaviour in Maidstone has fallen by 25 per cent over three years, says the report, however Maidstone still has the fifth highest level of anti-social crime in the county.

The council has faced repeated complaints from residents, visitors and local businesses about anti-social behaviour including street drinking, littering from legal highs such as empty laughing gas canisters and “verbal intimidation from beggars and rough sleepers” over the last year, says the report.

The PSPO, if agreed, could replace an earlier order, a DPPO, which will end in 2017.

The council’s Communities, Housing and Environment Committee is to debate introducing the order tonight.