Powers granted to crack down on antisocial behaviour in Doncaster town centre

Doncaster town centre
Doncaster town centre

Plans for tough new powers to crack down on anti-social behaviour in Doncaster town centre have been approved.

Doncaster Council's cabinet has given the scheme the go ahead - but insisted it will also set up a multi-agency group to tackle the personal issues that lead to individuals being out on the streets.

Mayor Ros Jones also pledged to keep a close eye on any potential displacement of the issue, to and to take action if the problem moves into other areas.

She said: "Let's get out there and help people with their lives, and also get our town centre back so people feel it's a great place to come."

The cabinet approved the setting up of a town centre Public Spaces Protection Order, which brings in a list of 10 rules banning certain actions in the town centre.

It includes drinking on the streets, begging, sleeping rough, and gathering in large groups that cause fear or upset. Police will be able to act if these rules are broken.

Council officer Chris Marsh told cabinet the public had shown overwhelming support for all 10 prohibitions through consultation. He also said there would be a close eye kept for any disperal of the problem to areas outside the town centre. He said the council would beed to be just as proactive if there were signs of the problem spilling out to other areas.

Coun Chris McGuinness, cabinet member for communities, said: “Homelessness and rough sleeping is an issue that affects many towns and cities across the country. There is not a one size fits all approach to helping and supporting those who find themselves in this position. This can only be resolved by the cooperation of all agencies, local authorities, the Government, volunteer groups and the public. We also know that some of those who are behaving in an anti-social manner in the town centre or begging are not always homeless or rough sleeping.

“We want to make it absolutely clear that the council is fully committed to supporting people who find themselves homeless or rough sleeping. The council, along with its partner’s, has introduced a comprehensive plan of activity to support people by connecting them to accommodation and support services. However, we will not stand by and let those who are causing anti-social behaviour in the town centre to continue.

“The Public Spaces Protection Order for the Town Centre is one part of this wider activity plan. The consultation on this issue shows a strong level of support from both the public and the business community for all of the prohibitions that we consulted on.

“Today cabinet has agreed that by using all the tools at our disposal and by working together with our partners we can go some way to address many of the underlying issues.”

Supt Neil Thomas, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “We are pleased that cabinet have today agreed to the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order for Doncaster town centre. This will help us and other agencies support those who are homeless or begging and want to break that cycle. However this will also help us deal with those small numbers of individuals who are behaving in an anti-social behaviour and causing distress to others.

“We will now work closely with the council to enforce this and bring about a change to the town centre.”

He said he thought it was unlikely that the problem would be displaced into residential areas because residential areas did not have the same number of people passing by to enable begging.