Published: 09:30, 07 September 2017
A new crackdown on antisocial behaviour like street drinking and littering is set to come into force in Dartford.
KentOnline reported in January that the borough council had agreed in principle to introducing a public space protection order (PSPO), and following a public consultation it is expected to be rubber-stamped at a cabinet meeting tonight.
Central Park and the War Memorial are two areas that specifically require protection, and Westgate Car Park is also a hot-spot for violence and drug taking that needs to be addressed.
The PSPO will give police and council officers greater power to combat such behaviour, as well as the ability to confiscate alcohol, legal highs, and clamp down on antisocial vehicle use such as racing and sounding horns between 8pm and 6am.
Such problems being tackled was cited as a key objective at the council's annual budget meeting back in February and the PSPO will be introduced so long as it is not challenged at the High Court within six weeks.
Council leader Cllr Jeremy Kite (Con) said earlier this year: “It gives us an extra level of intervention opportunity in things that are worthwhile considering as something to be enforced against.
“This PSPO really does address those things that I would consider to be beyond the pale in terms of most people’s understanding of what represents a threat to our civilised standards of behaviour in the town centre.
“We also want to tackle things like legal highs. Quite apart from the damage I’m convinced it does to people’s health, this is behaviour that is simply not appropriate in a town centre where you are inviting families to attend.
“Having to clear up shovels full of the nitrous oxide canisters every morning is a horrendous thing to be doing in 2017 and it’s bad for people’s health.”
Offenders face a fixed penalty notice of £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 10 days, and court appearances are also possible.
Dartford Labour have backed the measures but believe more resources should be put behind the order, whereas the council is confident providing additional power to existing provision will be sufficient.