Committee Report NSC

6.1

 
 


North Somerset Council

 

REPORT TO THE Planning AND Regulatory Committee

 

Date of Meeting: 25 July 2012

 

Subject of Report: Designated Public Place Order

 

Town or parish: congresbury

 

Officer/Member presenting: Director of development and environment

 

Key Decision: No

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS

 

That the Planning and Regulatory Committee recommends to the Council that the necessary consultations and advertisements be undertaken in accordance with the local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places) Regulations 2001 to enable a decision to be made as to whether or not it is appropriate to make designation orders under sections 12 – 16 Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 (as amended) in respect of:

 

1.      King George V Playing Fields, Congresbury

2.      Millennium Green, Congresbury

 

1.                Summary of Report

 

To advise members of the areas identified for possible Designated Public Place Orders the statutory procedures to be followed; and to seek authority to proceed with the same.

 

2.                Policy

 

2.1       The provision of designated place orders supports the Council's key corporate priority of ‘Building Safer Communities’ and supports the Community Safety theme contained within the North Somerset Community Strategy.

 

2.2       The order directly supports and fulfils the ‘Anti Social Behaviour Priority’ contained within the North Somerset Community Safety Strategy 2012.  One of the priorities being sought is ‘to target anti social drinking and associated nuisance in public places’.  The order also supports the key strategic priorities of North Somerset Early Intervention and Prevention Strategy 2011 -2015 ‘preventing alcohol misuse’, ‘reducing anti social behaviour’ and ‘increasing public reassurance and ‘community participation’.


 

 

3.                Details

 

3.1       Background and Overview

 

Sections 12-16 Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 give Local Authorities an adoptive power to restrict anti-social public drinking in designated public places.  It also provides the Police with the power to enforce this restriction.  The Local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places) Regulations 2001 sets out all the procedures to be followed by Local Authorities in designating public places for this purpose.

 

Section 26 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006 which came into force on 6 April 2007 corrected an unintended problem associated with the licensing of public spaces under the Licensing Act 2003, and the use of Designated Public Places Orders (DPPOs) under the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001.

 

3.2       Details of Provisions – the offence

 

Sections 12-16 Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 provides Police powers to deal with anti-social drinking in areas that have been designated for this purpose by the relevant Local Authority.  It is not an offence to drink alcohol in a designated public place. But if a Police Officer reasonably believes that a person is/has been/intends to consume intoxicating liquor in a designated public place he may require the person concerned:

 

a.                  Not to consume the liquor.

b.                  To surrender containers of liquor.

 

It is an arrestable offence to fail to comply with such a requirement of a Police Officer.

 

3.3       Details of the Provisions – power to designate places

 

The Act provides that the Local Authority may by order identify any public place in their area if they are satisfied that nuisance or annoyance to members of the public or a section of the public or disorder has been associated with the consumption of intoxicating liquor in that place.

 

3.4       Home Office Guidance on the use of Designation Orders

 

There is no intention that the provisions of the 2001 Act should lead to a comprehensive ban on drinking in the open air.  Local Authorities may designate areas only where they are satisfied that nuisance or annoyance to the public or disorder, has been associated with public drinking in that place.  The Home Office advises that where there have been no such problems a designation order will not be appropriate.

 

It is for the Local Authority to be satisfied that public nuisance, annoyance or disorder has been associated with public drinking in the area concerned and that a designated order is appropriate.  The Regulations do not place a requirement on the Local Authority to conduct a formal assessment over a given period, of the nature of the problem, as was the case with the byelaws procedure.  Whether or not a designation order is appropriate will be a matter for local judgement, based on the circumstances applying.

 

The Home Office further advised that the Local Authority will want to satisfy itself that these new powers are not being used disproportionately or in an arbitrary fashion which could be the case if one, isolated incident led to a designation order.  There should be evidence of an existing problem, with an assessment as to the likelihood that the problem will continue unless these powers are adopted.

 

3.5       Specific Public Places

 

In January 2004 and May 2005 the Planning and Regulatory Committee were advised about the effectiveness of the alcohol designation orders previously made to restrict anti-social drinking in designated places.  They noted the impact that had been made and resolved that following requests from the Police the necessary assessments be carried out for further possible orders to be made in Weston-super-Mare, Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead.

 

Officers worked closely with the Police to identify areas for possible orders.  Since the Planning and Regulatory Committee received its update on the effectiveness of the original orders made, the Police have identified new areas in Congresbury.  These new areas have been brought forward for members’ consideration.

 

Police officers expressed a desire to pre-empt any future problems, with displacement of the drinking problems caused by making designation orders, by extending the areas identified in the Order in the first place. However it is clear that there is only power to make an Order where there is an existing problem.  The powers must be in a proportionate way.  Therefore the descriptions and plans attached to the report at Appendix 1 and 2 only cover the areas where there appears to the Police to be an existing problem.

 

It is recognised that other orders may need to be made in the future, either to cover any displacement problems or to cover areas where problems exist that have not, as yet, been brought to the attention of the Council.

 

3.6       Timescales

 

If members consider that they wish to embark on the process of designation, in order to comply with the requirements of the regulations, the following is likely to be the relevant timescales:

 

Planning and Regulatory Committee                                  25 July 2012

Council                                                                                   25 September 2012

Statutory Consultations

Newspaper advertisements                                    

Planning and Regulatory Committee                                  31 October 2012

Council                                                                                   13 November 2012

Order made                                                                           14 November 2012

Newspaper advertisements

Erection of notices

Order takes effect                                                                 1 January 2013


 

4.                Consultation

 

Officers have already been working closely with the Police to establish the areas where the Police believe that nuisance or annoyance to the public or disorder have been associated with public drinking in that place in order that clearly defined areas, to be included in the formal statutory consultation process, can be considered by members.

 

The procedure for designation of places, set out in The Local Authorities (Alcohol Consumption in Designated Public Places) Regulations 2001, involves wide consultation.

 

1.         Before making an order there has to be consultation.

 

            The Local Authority must consult:

 

a.          The Chief Officer of Police for the relevant area.

        (This is to seek the views of the Police on the nature of the problem and the appropriateness of adopting the powers to respond to it.  It also recognises that it will be the Police who will have the responsibility of enforcing the resulting restrictions on public drinking).

 

b.          The Parish or Community Council covering all or part of the public place to be designated.

 

c.          Neighbouring Chief Officer of Police, Local Authority and Parish Council which Local Authority considers may be affected by a designation order.

 

(This allows for consideration of consequences of order and possible displacement of anti-social drinking problems).

 

d.     Licensees within the area or who may be affected by the designation order.

 

e.     The owners and occupiers of any land that may be identified in a designation order.

 

2.         Before making an order there has to be publicity.

 

The Local Authority must publish a notice in a local newspaper that identifies the place proposed to be designated, the effect of the order and inviting representations.

 

3.         No order can be made until at least 28 days after publication of notice.

 

This allows representations made in response to the consultation and publicity to be considered.

 

4.       After making an order and before it takes effect:

 

a.          The Local Authority must publish another notice in a local newspaper that identifies the place identified in the order, the effect of the order and the date it will take effect.

 

b.          The Local Authority must erect signs to draw attention of members of the public to the effect of the order.

 

5.                Financial Implications

 

In addition to officer time, the initial costs of making the orders are the costs of advertisements and notices. The cost of proceeding with the areas referred to later in this report is approximately £425 for advertisements and £1,000 for signage.  The funds for advertisements will be committed by North Somerset Council Licensing and the funds for the signage will be committed by Congresbury Parish Council.

 

Once Designation Orders are made enforcement is entirely at the hands of the Police.  Therefore once the Council has paid the initial costs of making the Orders, it would bear no costs of enforcement.

 

6.                Equality Implications

 

Every person is entitled to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions as a matter of human rights.  No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to conditions provided for by law.  Making a Designation Order would provide the legal framework for the removal of alcohol from a person in Designated Public Places.

 

7.                Corporate Implications

 

The proposal supports and takes forward the Council’s corporate priorities and strategies.

 

8.                Options considered

 

Members can decide to proceed with the process of making orders in some, all or none of the areas described.

 

Author

 

Caz Horton, Licensing Officer

 

 

Background Papers

 

Guidance from Home Office 24 August 2007

Letters from Inspector