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Following concerns raised by individuals and businesses, Melksham Town Council has undertaken to explore measures that might be employed to counter the incidence of public drinking, begging and anti social behaviour in the town which, it appears, has risen alarmingly in recent months.
The town council understands that the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 brought in a range of new orders designed to address anti-social behaviour and is keen to explore whether public spaces protection orders (PSPO) might be applied in Melksham.
In the first instance an evidence base would need to be created and analysed over a suitable reference period, to support the proposition that a PSPO might be appropriate. Liaison has already begun with Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire Police to analyse the number and type of incidents reported over recent months.
If it is deemed appropriate, and following consultation with community representatives and members of the public, a PSPO could be introduced to ensure that the law-abiding majority can use and enjoy public spaces in the town, safe from anti-social behaviour. The maximum duration of a PSPO is three years, but they can last for shorter periods of time where appropriate.
The introduction of a PSPO would mean that any person doing anything that they were prohibited from doing under the terms of that order, or failing to comply with a requirement to which they were subject under the order, would be committing an offence. Whilst it would not be an offence to drink alcohol in a controlled drinking zone, it would be an offence to comply with a request from an authorised enforcing officer to cease drinking or surrender the alcohol.
Mayor of Melksham, cllr Adrienne Westbrook said, “The town council is keen to explore initiatives which enhance the safety and enjoyment of public spaces within our town. We want to ensure that enforcing authorities have the means at their disposal to address instances of anti-social behaviour as and when they occur.”