New powers to tackle anti-social behaviour set to be introduced in Thetford

Thetford High Street. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Thetford High Street. Picture: Rebecca Murphy - Credit: Archant

New and more flexible powers to tackle anti-social behaviour are set to be enforced in Thetford.

Currently, Designated Public Place Orders - more commonly known as alcohol exclusion zones - are in place in Breckland's five market towns.

Under changes in legislation, these orders will automatically become Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in October.

The PSPOs allow Breckland District Council to be more flexible with what is categorised as anti-social behaviour and how it is dealt with.

During a cabinet meeting on July 10, councillors supported the new powers to be enforced in Thetford.

A consultation was held in the town, which suffers with anti-social behaviour, between April and May to ask residents what issues they feel are problematic - with 450 people taking part.

The new Thetford PSPOs agreed will prohibit urination and defecation in a public place, supported by 95pc of those who took part in the consultation, and the use of a bicycle, skateboard or scooter in a pedestrianised zone, supported by 86pc.

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The existing prohibition of alcohol consumption will remain.

John Newton, Thetford Town councillor, said: 'I am pleased the PSPO has been approved. It has taken 14/15 months to get it to this stage and a lot of people in the town are watching this quite closely because they have had enough.'

The area to be covered by the PSPO was also subject to consultation. the agreed zone will cover the town centre.

The Safer Thetford Action Group said it was 'content with the decision'.

Public consultations for Dereham, Watton, Attleborough and Swaffham will be held later in the year.

PSPOs will be tailored to suit each town and the additional powers which will be needed.

Following the cabinet's endorsement, the report will be taken to full council on July, 27 for a final decision.

Paul Claussen, Breckland Council executive member for place, added: 'Those living and working in our market towns have the best on-the-ground knowledge of what is happening there.

'They know where, when and what the ongoing problems are and we are keen to use their knowledge to develop PSPOs that will help address issues in our other four market towns.'