New powers to tackle public drinking in Sidmouth

The Public Spaces Protection Order being considered by EDDC for Sidmouth

The Public Spaces Protection Order being considered by EDDC for Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

Powers to fine anti-social revellers drinking alcohol in public in Sidmouth town centre could be extended to council officers under proposals being considered.

If approved, a public space protection order (PSPO) would apply along The Esplanade and in Market Place, Dove Lane, Prospect Place and Kings Lane.

East Devon District Council’s (EDDC) cabinet is set to discuss its introduction on Wednesday (February 8) – along with tougher restrictions in Exmouth, where the police have requested powers to clamp down on public urination, aggressive begging, drug dealing and the use of so-called legal highs.

PSPOs are a new tool to address persistent problems that have a detrimental impact on the quality of life in a given area.

Under the legislation, authorised officers – including council officers and people accredited under the community safety accreditation scheme, as well as police officers and PCSOs – will be able to issue fixed penalty notices of £80, payable to EDDC.

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The PSPO would supersede an existing designated public spaces order, which covers Sidmouth’s Market Place and seafront – but currently only police officers can confiscate alcohol when drinkers are behaving antisocially.

The new powers would extend to other intoxicating substances, such as legal highs.

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Sergeant Andy Squires, who leads the town’s neighbourhood beat team, said: “We don’t have a huge problem with public order in Sidmouth. A PSPO is much more relevant to Exmouth town centre.

“Any measure that reduces disorder is a good thing as long as the police are not the sole agency to enforce it as our resources are somewhat stretched.”

EDDC will consult on the proposals before their introduction this spring.

The authority plans to use a separate PSPO to clamp down on seagulls and impose tighter controls on dog owners.

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