Zero fines issued at Ilkley Riverside since introduction of Public Space Protection Order

Friday, 27 January 2023 15:43

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

No fines at all have been issued since an order to get tougher on anti-social behaviour at Ilkley Riverside was introduced.

But Bradford Council has argued that the threat of fines has still helped deter people from causing trouble by the River Wharfe in the town.

Introduced in 2021, the public space protection order gave Council officers and police greater powers to fine people for anti-social behaviour at the popular destination – which can see thousands of visitors a day in warm weather.

People can now be fined for 'tombstoning' off the footbridge over the river, swearing, drinking or taking drugs.

At a meeting of Bradford Council on Tuesday Councillor Andrew Loy (Cons, Ilkley) asked Council leaders how many fixed penalty notices had been given out since the order was introduced.

The response from the Council said: “Following anti-social behaviour over a number of years, Bradford Council has implemented a public space protection order for the Ilkley Riverside area. Prohibitions relate to offensive behaviours that cause alarm, harassment or distress.

“A minority of visitors to Ilkley have engaged in behaviours that sometimes threaten and intimidate others. This includes abuse of alcohol or drugs, excessive noise, using foul or abusive language, threatening behaviour and littering.

“Patrolling Wardens and Officers engage widely with members of the public as they patrol the Ilkley Riverside site.

“In 2022 they had at least 300 conversations with members of the public about the Order and offered advice/warnings to over 50 people about keeping to the terms of the Order.

“The key purpose of the PSPO is to deter would be offenders from breaching the Order and to give us a vehicle for engaging with the public to reduce disruption.

“To date, no fixed penalty notices have been issued by patrolling Council Officers.

“This is largely down to the public complying with requests from Officers to curb behaviours including deterring many from lighting barbecues.

“If the PSPO was not in place it would be more difficult to tackle some of the issues such as lighting barbecues and anti-social behaviour.

“Without the PSPO there would not be any other deterrent to tackle such activities.

“In many instances, staff will work together to speak to those at an early stage who are exhibiting risk behaviours and this along with the visible presence of both Police and Council staff has had some impact.

“In the vast majority of cases people who are spoken to will comply.”

Cllr Loy responded to say more resources were needed to enforce the order.

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