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Thatcham granted Public Spaces Protection Order granting police delegated powers

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Thatcham will get a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) granting police officers delegated powers in the town centre.

Thames Valley Police asked West Berkshire Council to consider the introduction of a PSPO following a series of antisocial behaviour incidents in the town.

A public consultation found that 84.67 per cent of Thatcham residents were in favour of the order.

Thatcham will get a PSPO
Thatcham will get a PSPO

The decision to grant a PSPO was then taken with the delegated officer, granting the order on July 12 but until July 27 there was an option for this decision to be ‘called-in’.

Thames Valley Police inspector Matt Gow said, “This PSPO received significant public backing and we’ll be supporting it by using the engage, explain and encourage approach with enforcement only being used as a last resort.

“Together with the council, we hope that the PSPO will make the town centre an even better place to live, work and visit.”

The order itself will grant police officers delegated powers, from the local authority, to restrict an individual who has committed an antisocial act, to remove themselves from the area for up to 24 hours.

The council has said that the restriction is “preventative”. If an individual is asked to stop their behaviour by a police officer or police community support officer they “must do so”.

It said that if they don’t comply, they will be committing a criminal offence which could result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £100, or a fine of up to £1,000 if they are prosecuted and convicted.

A PSPO has been “successful” in Newbury town centre since its implementation in February of last year.

There is also a restricting access implemented in Speen, where a gate has been restricting access to a footway in an attempt to reduce crime.

West Berkshire Council executive member for health and wellbeing councillor Graham Bridgman (Con, Burghfield and Mortimer) said: “We are pleased to have been able to assist Thames Valley Police by undertaking the public consultation to gauge the desire for, and then undertake the formal process to introduce, a PSPO for Thatcham town centre.

"We are committed to working with partners to ensure that our town centres remain as places for everyone to enjoy."

Thatcham Town Council's town centre committee chairman councillor Owen Jeffery (Lib Dem, Thatcham Central) said: " I am very pleased that the public consultation for this Public Spaces Protection Order has been successful with the public supporting it.

"Antisocial behaviour is never enjoyable and giving the police these additional tools to deal with those wishing to make life unpleasant for others is warmly welcomed by me."

He added: "Thatcham is a great place to live and our town’s central area, from the Memorial Field to the High Street, The Broadway, the Turnfields Play Area and beyond, is popular at most times and this PSPO will assist the police to keep it that way."

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