New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) consultation

Closed 31 Oct 2016

Opened 13 Sep 2016

Feedback updated 27 Jun 2017

We asked

We asked for your comments and level of support for our proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), which would give police additional powers to enforce restrictions, and in some cases make arrests.

Police already have powers of arrest for criminal offences that can be linked to drugs or substances abuse. However, where a PSPO is in operation it is an offence to refuse to comply with an officer’s request to stop the activity or to surrender any substances when asked. Where there is no PSPO in operation, it is not an offence alone to refuse to surrender the substance, although any related anti-social behaviour is.

You said

There were 658 respondents.

79% knew what NPS were.

66% had had an experience with someone they suspected of using NPS.

77% thought NPS were an issue in Leicester.

38% had experience of both individuals and groups using NPS.

11% said their families had been affected by NPS.

Specific problems experienced were:

  • 65% littering
  • 57% poor health
  • 55% intimidation
  • 52% mood swings
  • 49% noise
  • 49% verbal abuse
  • 47% physical abuse
  • 31% vulnerability.

50% experienced problems with NPS every day.

89% thought more public awareness was needed.

88% thought more could be done to prevent people from using NPS.

86% supported the use of a citywide NPS Order, which would give the police additional powers to deal with problems caused by NPS.

We did

As a result of the support from public consultation for the proposal, the council’s executive approved implementation from Summer 2017 of a citywide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for New Psychoactive Substances combined with a citywide PSPO for street drinking.

The PSPO will give police additional powers to be able to make arrests if offenders breach the PSPO by, for example, not complying with an officer’s request to stop the activity or surrender any substances when asked, or failing to give their name and address.

The New Psychoactive Substances and Street Drinking PSPO will be reviewed in 3 years.

Results updated 26 Jan 2018



We are consulting to gauge the level of public awareness about New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) formerly known as ‘legal highs’ and the support to enforce controls on the use of NPS by giving the police additional powers through a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

Why your views matter

On Thursday 26 May 2016, the Psychoactive Substances Act came into force; meaning that the production, supply and importation of these potentially dangerous drugs is now prohibited nationwide.

The new legislation gives police and other law enforcement agencies greater powers to tackle the trade in psychoactive substances, formerly known as ‘legal highs’ and will see offenders face up to seven years in prison.

The use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) is not a criminal offence, but both alone and with other substances, can result in acute toxicity and serious harm. The use of NPS can also result in users reducing their inhibitions and can cause paranoia, coma, seizures and in rare cases, death.

Community consultation is required to determine;

  • Level of public awareness about NPS
  • Public support to enforce controls on the use of NPS by giving the police additional powers via the application of a PSPO.

Where Will it Apply

The council can consider the application of a PSPO on any public space within its own local authority boundary. The definition of public space is wide and includes any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission, for example a shopping centre.


The application of a PSPO will give police additional powers on the use of NPS by enforcing any restrictions and in some cases to make arrests.


  • All Areas


  • All residents
  • All households
  • Drug and Alcohol services
  • Police


  • Public health
  • City development and neighbourhoods
  • Local government