Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) Consultation

Closed 15 Nov 2020

Opened 28 Sep 2020



Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPO) were introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. They are intended to deal with a particular nuisance or problem that is detrimental to the local community’s quality of life by imposing conditions on the use of that area. Failure to comply with the conditions is a criminal offence.

On 31st December 2017, a joint PSPO for street drinking and New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) was implemented to give the police additional powers across Leicester City to tackle individuals taking NPS or street drinking where it is associated with anti-social behaviour.

NPS are a range of drugs, previously known as legal highs, designed to have the same effects of established illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. The chemicals in the substances are often neither legal or safe for human consumption. NPS are sold online and come in brightly coloured packaging under a variety of brand names such as Black Mamba and Spice.  The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 made the production, importation and supply of these potentially dangerous drugs illegal. Conviction could lead to a seven-year prison sentence. Possession for personal use is not an offence, unless in prison.

The citywide PSPO does not act as a ban on psychoactive substances, but allows for greater controls to tackle anti-social behaviour associated with their use. This includes the use of nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, which has several legitimate uses but improper use can result in death. We know that the littering of nitrous oxide silver canisters is of particular concern to many members of our community.

A PSPO for street drinking had been in place three years prior to the joint PSPO being implemented. In a designated PSPO area, if there is anti-social behaviour associated with street drinking and/or NPS use, a police officer or PCSO can:

• Require a person not to consume alcohol or take NPS

• Require a person to surrender any alcohol or NPS in his/her possession

• Dispose of the alcohol/NPS

• Arrest an individual if they fail to comply with the officer’s request

The street drinking PSPO is NOT a ban on drinking alcohol in a public place but provides the police with additional powers to tackle alcohol related anti-social behaviour or disorder. For example, if a person was to drink beyond the legal boundary of a licensed premise and they do not stop drinking if asked to do so by a police officer due to anti-social behaviour, then the PSPO comes into effect.

At any point before expiry, the council can extend a Public Spaces Protection Order by up to three years if they consider it is necessary to prevent the original behaviour from occurring or recurring.

Public engagement is a legislative requirement when considering the implementation of a PSPO. The previous street drinking and NPS PSPOs had public engagement as an integral element of the PSPO process before the decision was made to progress.

The same will apply for any extension of the current PSPO with the necessary adjustments in light of Covid-19 that will curtail the face-to-face elements of public engagement.


Why we are consulting

Leicester City Council is seeking specifically to obtain feedback on whether there is public support for the extension of the street drinking and NPS PSPO for a further three years.

Questions will be focused on the impact of street drinking and NPS use on local communities and if respondents support the extension of the citywide PSPO which provides the police with additional powers to tackle the issue.


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