Council hopes to extend borough-wide crackdown on street drinking

Officers have mainly used the ban to target street drinking and “problematic congregation”
By Waltham Forest Echo

Credit: Thomas B/Pixabay
Credit: Thomas B/Pixabay

Waltham Forest Council wants to extend a borough-wide crackdown on “anti-social behaviour”, mainly used to punish people for drinking on the street.

The Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) allows council and police officers to more easily punish “persistent or continuous” behaviour ranging from rough sleeping to running a brothel. 

Council figures show that, since January 2019, it has mostly been used to punish street drinking and “problematic congregation”.

The PSPO has been in place across the south of the borough for more than five years but only spread to the north of the borough in October 2019.

It will expire later this year and now the council wants residents’ views on its plan to extend the ban until 2025.

Between January 2019 and March this year, officers have handed out almost 2,000 £100 fines for violating the PSPO and more than 3,000 Community Protection Warnings (CPWs), which allows an individual to be summoned to court if their behaviour continues.

Incidents dealt with by officers since 2019 (credit: Waltham Forest Council)

Figures provided by the council show that almost 40% of the enforcement carried out under the PSPO was for street drinking, a fifth was for “problematic congregation” and 13.5% was for “drug-related” issues.

A report prepared by the council reads: “The council carried out some data analysis previously which highlighted that levels of ASB and crime tend to increase and intensify in those areas where a PSPO is not in place. 

“This evidence suggests that a decision not to renew the PSPOs may lead to a resulting increase in crime and ASB in the borough, by removing the powers we currently have to tackle such behaviour.

“We have seen a steady increase in the proportion of residents who are worried by ASB since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, as per the Public Attitudes Survey.”

The survey results show that around half of borough residents say they are worried about anti-social behaviour in their area, in line with the general trend for London overall.

Residents can fill out the consultation with their views until 22nd June.