Taking a fresh look at proposed city centre PSPO

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities takes a fresh look at the proposed measures aimed at making the city centre safer for all.

Proposals to implement a Public Space Protection Order to tackle anti-social behaviour in the city centre have been the subject of two rounds of public consultation in recent months.

These were also discussed yesterday (25 July), for a second time, by the Housing and Neighbourhoods Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which heard evidence from campaigners and third sector partners.   

Evidence was heard from a number of partners including SIFA Fireside, Shelter and Community Law Partnership, who set out their concerns over a number of issues.

I’ve always said that we must be robust in tackling anti-social behaviour but I will not endorse any measures that criminalise people for simply being poor, homeless or vulnerable.

So I was really pleased to hear their views, which highlighted some of the same concerns about how the current proposals could affect the most vulnerable people in the city.

Much has already been said and heard about the proposals, representing a wide spectrum of stakeholders, and we are listening – and will continue to listen - to these varying views. 

While feedback from the most recent consultation, which ended in May, showed strong public support – attracting more than 1,100 responses – for a PSPO, it also revealed the scale of public concern about anti-social behaviour, harassment and intimidation in the city centre.

Birmingham is a 24/7 city and we want it to be a city safe for all to live, visit and work in – around the clock. However the consultation revealed many incidents involving women and young people intimidated or threatened with violence as they went about their business.  Vulnerable citizens, including members of the street community, were also being targeted. This cannot and will not be tolerated.

So there is still much more work to do. That’s why we are committed to working closely with city partners, including frontline organisations like Shelter and SIFA Fireside, to find a workable approach that tackles anti-social behaviour while still protecting the most vulnerable.

The consultation process is not pre-destined and therefore we will continue to discuss with partners possible ways forward. We must ensure we get this right, so we will not be rushing into any decision.

I’m determined that we get this right – for all of our citizens, whoever they are and whatever their circumstances.  


This blog was posted on 26 July 2019.

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