Rushden’s public space protection order now in force to tackle anti-social behaviour in the town

Signage is going up this week
Community Protection Enforcement Officer Will Boulter, NNC leader Jason Smithers and Sgt Leigh Goodwin from Northants PoliceCommunity Protection Enforcement Officer Will Boulter, NNC leader Jason Smithers and Sgt Leigh Goodwin from Northants Police
Community Protection Enforcement Officer Will Boulter, NNC leader Jason Smithers and Sgt Leigh Goodwin from Northants Police

Rushden’s public spaces protection order (PSPO) is now officially in force, with signage going up this week across the town and surrounding areas.

Under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the order allows a council to impose restrictions in particular areas in a bid to tackle nuisance or problem behaviour.

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It gives the police and the council wider discretionary powers to deal with problems which harm the local community's quality of life.

Following a consultation in late 2023, 84 per cent of those who completed the questionnaire agreed or strongly agreed with a PSPO being introduced in Rushden.

Problems in the town continue to include public alcohol consumption, rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour and begging.

The primary approach will be to engage and to educate individuals carrying out anti-social behaviour, but the new PSPO will give authorised officers the ability to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100 paid to the council, or to prosecute.

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Cllr Mark Rowley, North Northants Council's executive member for housing, communities and levelling up, said: “PSPOs are vital tools to help authorised officers to engage with people whose behaviours are likely to have a detrimental effect on other people’s quality of life.

"The order will give us and the police the power to engage with offenders to try and change people’s behaviours, and if without success, take enforcement action.

"Similar PSPOs are in place in other town centres across North Northants and have had a positive impact.

"NNC will now work with the police to make sure people are aware of the order and the area it covers, so it is clear which behaviours and activities are not allowed in the area and individuals who carry on committing anti-social behaviour could be fined through a Fixed Penalty Notice.”

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Council leader Cllr Jason Smithers added: “Our aim is to rid North Northants, and in this case Rushden, of anti-social behaviour and activities that are impacting so many lives.

"In 2023 I met, alongside council officers, with the police and fire crime commissioner, Northants Police and Rushden Town Council to look at problems with anti-social behaviour, street drinking, illegal parking and sales of drugs and alcohol.

"It was agreed that that creating a PSPO for the town centre would be brought in as part of our commitment to make communities across North Northants safer.

"We all want to create a district free from anti-social behaviour where we can all happily co-exist.

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"By tackling these issues we can ease the disruption and distress for our residents, and maintain the cleanliness and safety of our public spaces.”

Earlier this year, Cllr Smithers spoke to the Northants Telegraph about why Rushden needed a PSPO, including prostitution, peeing in the street and ‘unsavoury behaviour.’

Speaking in February, he said: “There’s a lot of anti-social behaviour been going on such as peeing in the street, alcohol drinking in the street and also some more unsavoury stuff which needs to be dealt with robustly.

“There’s prostitution going on in open view of everyone in this area which is not acceptable in a family area, people who want to come here and enjoy a meal and enjoy a drink in a family pub like Wetherspoon and they don’t want to see that behaviour.”