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Crawley takes a stand on anti-social behaviour
Crawley Borough Council has introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) designating Crawley as an area prohibiting the anti-social use of vehicles.
From 15 March, under Section 59 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act, a PSPO can target a range of behaviours and can prohibit activities in a public space which have a negative effect on those living in that area.
The council decided to take out a PSPO after a public consultation determined 74 per cent of the respondents, both individuals and businesses, were in support of the order.
Over the past three years, businesses and residents have been affected by vehicles gathering in large groups and drivers engaging in anti-social use of vehicles, particularly in Manor Royal Business District and Tilgate Park.
The PSPO allows police and council officers the authority to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs). If FPNs are not paid, the person concerned may be taken to court and fined.
The order means it's an offence for anyone to:
- Participate in car cruising or a car cruising event
- Encourage any other person to participate in car cruising or a car cruising event
- Congregate to watch car cruising or be in attendance to watch a car cruising event
- Attend a car cruising event to supply or sell to those present any food, drink, goods or services
- Urinate in a public place while participating or attending a car cruising event.
Engaging with any of these activities anywhere on any public highway, car parks or any other land to which the public or any section of the public has access, may result in a fixed penalty notice.
If a person is believed to have engaged with the prohibited activities, they are required to give their name and address to a police officer, police community support officer or other person designated by Crawley Borough Council. They may also be required to leave the area.
Councillor Brenda Smith, Cabinet member for Community Engagement and Public Protection at Crawley Borough Council, said: "Now we have the PSPO in place, I hope we start to see a decrease in car cruising and car cruising events in Crawley.
"I'm glad the council and police have more power to prevent further damage to public and private land as well as excessive car noise; which has been the cause of disrupted sleep for many."
Chief Inspector Rosie Ross said: "Sussex Police support the introduction of the PSPO, after issues were raised by the public and local residents regarding an increase in the nuisance of anti-social behaviour related to the use of vehicles in the town centre.
"This activity can clearly have a detrimental impact on the quality of life for those in the locality and a PSPO in place will allow authorised council officers to take appropriate enforcement action against those involved"
Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District, said: "This is an important step for the protection of our public spaces from what has become a nasty and enduring problem.
"The Manor Royal BID first highlighted the car cruising issue a few years ago. Now, with this order, the authorities are able to send a real message to those intent on anti-social behaviour and provide reassurance to businesses that the issue is being taken seriously."
The PSPO will be in effect for three years unless it is extended by the council under section 60 of the Act.
For more information about the Public Spaces Protection Order in Crawley visit crawley.gov.uk/pspo