Warnings given to Hatfield’s drinkers and rough sleepers

PUBLISHED: 09:30 01 September 2018

The Public Spaces Proection Order team in Hatfield. 
Picture: Supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Council

The Public Spaces Proection Order team in Hatfield. Picture: Supplied by Welwyn Hatfield Council

Archant

Nearly 40 warnings have been given to people who have been drinking, begging, sleeping rough or urinating in Hatfield since new regulations were introduced.

A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was established for the town centre and surrounding areas at the end of July following a public consultation in which people supported greater enforcement powers to prevent antisocial behaviour.

Fixed Penalty Notices of up to £75 can be given on the spot and persistent offenders could be prosecuted and fined up to £1,000.

Herts Police and Welwyn Hatfield Council are working together to enforce the PSPO.

By the end of August, 33 warnings had been given to people for drinking in the streets, one for begging, four for rough sleeping and one for urinating.

No FPNs were given in the first week, just warnings.

In the second week, one fine was dished out for someone drinking in public, another for begging and a third for rough sleeping.

Ten warnings were given in the second week.

In a joint statement to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, the council and police said: “Although it remains early days, overall, we feel the PSPO is being received well.

“Increasing awareness of the changes has been our main focus during these first weeks and, where needed, pointing people in the right direction for support.

“We are noticing positive changes as people have become more used to the new restrictions.

“It’s not possible for our officers to be aware of every issue, so we urge residents and businesses to keep helping us by reporting breaches to the police non-emergency number, 101.”

When asked if the PSPO had caused antisocial behaviour to shift elsewhere, they said: “There have been no reports of antisocial behaviour increasing elsewhere or in surrounding areas.

“However, we will continue to work together to monitor this closely.”

Councillor Bernard Sarson, executive member for community safety, said: “Working together, we are addressing the issues that residents and businesses have told us are having a detrimental impact on their lives.

“Part of this is helping our most vulnerable and providing people with the right support for them.”

Welwyn Hatfield Safer Neighbourhood Inspector Sophia Adams said: “We are pleased to be working together with our colleagues at Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to enforce the order and while it’s still only in its infancy, we have had only positive feedback from local residents and businesses.

“Officers who are based in the town centre are patrolling the area for the majority of their shifts, with support from Hatfield South officers where necessary.

“What we have seen is, that when people see an accredited street warden or police officer, they often leave the area without even being asked – which is encouraging.

“We are looking forward to continuing our joint work with the council in tackling anti-social behaviour in the town centre.”

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