Report of the Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion
The Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods, Safety and Inclusion presented a report on the extension of the Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) for the control of dogs in the city. The following points were discussed:
(a) the four PSPOs in respect of dogs were first approved in 2016. PSPOs may only last for up to three years, so they were extended in 2019, and it is now proposed to extend them for a further three-year period from September. The powers arising from the PSPOs are not intended to prevent or discourage responsible dog walking in the city, but are to be used to ensure that dogs are kept under control at all times and to prevent irresponsible dog owners from causing anti-social behaviour and associated harassment, alarm and distress to members of the public;
(b) tackling anti-social behaviour is a high priority for the Council. A full public consultation was undertaken on the proposals to extend the PSPOs, and the responses received were supportive. Clear evidence has been collected to demonstrate that the PSPOs are effective in deterring anti-social behaviour, and in providing Community Protection Officers (CPOs) with the right enforcement tools to ensure that dogs are kept on leads and controlled, and that dog fouling is cleaned up;
(c) from October 2019 to end of March 2022, CPOs issued 385 Fixed Penalty Notices for breaches of the PSPOs, following the principle of ‘advise, warn, enforce’. As such, the powers granted by the PSPOs have enabled CPOs to ensure public safety without being over-used, or deployed in a heavy-handed way.
(1) to authorise the extension of the following four Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) so that they remain in effect for a further period of three years from 24 September 2022, having been satisfied that the test in Section 60 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 is met and having regard to the rights of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly:
· PSPO 1 – Nottingham City Council Dogs on Leads by Direction Public Spaces Protection Order 2016 (as set out in Appendix 1 to the report);
· PSPO 2 – Nottingham City Council Dogs on Lead Public Spaces Protection Order 2016 (as set out in Appendix 2);
· PSPO 3 – Nottingham City Council Dogs Exclusion Public Spaces Protection Order 2016 (as set out in Appendix 3);
· PSPO 4 – Nottingham City Council Fouling of Land by Dogs and Requirement to Produce Device for or Other Suitable Means of Removing Dog Faeces Public Spaces Protection Order 2016 (as set out in Appendix 4);
(2) to delegate authority to the Director for Community Protection to carry out the necessary publications in relation to the extended PSPOs, and to arrange for current signage to be amended in accordance with the legislative requirements.
· Reasons for the decision
One of the Council’s ambitions is for all those living in, working in or visiting the city to enjoy safe, clean, vibrant and attractive public spaces. In the past, there have been significant problems caused by dog-related anti-social behaviour, nuisance and disorder across the city. Evidence at the time showed that these issues impacted greatly on the quality of the life for residents, visitors and businesses alike. PSPOs provide a mechanism whereby the Council has additional powers to address any anti-social behaviour and nuisance created by dogs.
· Other options considered
To allow the current PSPOs to expire: this option is rejected because there is strong evidence that the PSPOs have been effective in reducing dog-related anti-social behaviour incidents across the city. The PSPOs create valuable enforcement powers for the Council, without which there are limited tools available to achieve the same impact. Relinquishing the current enforcement powers provided by the PSPOs would be likely to result in an increased level of anti-social behaviour incidents citywide, as there are no existing alternative powers to control the various problems associated with dogs in the administrative area of Nottingham.