Public Space Protection Order to tackle street drinking in Bedford town centre Image by Maksim AdobeStock_204062152

Following public consultation, Bedford Borough Council has approved a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to tackle street drinking and related anti-social behaviour in the area of Bedford town centre.

This PSPO is set to come into force from today (16 December 2020) and is set to remain in place for three years. It would prohibit people consuming alcohol or having an open container of alcohol in the defined area, to prevent anti-social behaviour.

It covers the town centre from the Embankment in the south, St Cuthbert’s Street in the east, Landsdowne Road, Roff Avenue and De Parys Avenue in the north, and Ashburnham Road in the west.

Once in place, the Order gives the police and authorised officers powers to enforce against those breaking it. This enforcement can range from asking the person to surrender the alcohol, issuing a Community Protection Notice, a criminal behaviour order, to issuing a fixed penalty notice.

The Council will continue to offer support for people where appropriate, such as referral to alcohol support services.

This PSPO proposal followed a consultation conducted by the Bedford Borough Community Safety Partnership in 2019, where alcohol-related anti-social behaviour in the town centre came back as a key concern for people.

In the consultation to introduce this Order, 90.7% of the over 500 respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal.

Cllr Colleen Atkins, portfolio holder for Community Safety and Regulatory Services, said:

“This PSPO is set to come into force tomorrow, after overwhelming support was shown in the consultation.

“Street drinking and related anti-social behaviour is a key concern for local people. This Order will give the Police and other officers the powers to enforce against people drinking alcohol or having an open container of alcohol in the town centre area and reduce anti-social behaviour, tackling an issue that was identified as a problem.

“By working with local communities and businesses, we are able to tackle problems in partnership, and ensure we are listening to the concerns and ideas of the people who live and work in our town centre.”