Councillor Phélim Mac Cafferty
Greens have major concerns about the introduction of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs). They are a blunt and ineffective instrument to deal with anti-social behaviour. Many of the areas currently affected such as St Nicholas Churchyard and Brunswick Square are not even covered by PSPOs. We already have many powers to deal with anti-social behaviour in squares such as bye-laws. Why aren’t they being used more effectively? There has been no analysis of the potential use and problems with existing powers. We agree that we need a clear way to prevent anti-social behaviour but there is no evidence to suggest PSPOs will either cut or prevent it. So why should we trust new, untested powers?
If we want the strongest approach to community safety, we need the funding to do the job properly. Without extra resources for Sussex Police or for the Council, PSPOs will only move anti-social behaviour on from one area to the next. The reversal of cuts to Council community safety budgets and ending reductions in police resources would be far more effective.
Under the new order, anyone sleeping in a tent can be subject to a PSPO. Yet many people sleeping rough on our streets have been forced out due to high rents, evictions or even domestic violence. The overwhelming public support for our proposal to open empty buildings up for the homeless shows that we need to home the homeless, not needlessly criminalise them. We need to see tolerated stopping sites for travellers brought forward as soon as possible, because they are fairer for all communities and create a stronger basis to protect open spaces. We must balance the need to prevent anti-social behaviour with ensuring vulnerable groups are protected.
Greens will speak out against PSPOs at Brighton and Hove’s upcoming full council meeting, April 6th.
Greens have supported representations to Council from human rights and Friends of Travellers groups on this issue. Greens opposed the original introduction of PSPOs back in July 2016, but the proposal passed, backed by Labour and Conservative Councillors.