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New order to tackle park concerns

Published Tuesday, 01 March 2016

West Midlands Police and the Council plan to introduce the city’s second Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

Edgwick Park in Foleshill will be the first location in the city where a PSPO will be set up following concerns about child safety issues. 
Local authorities have powers to introduce a Public Space Protection Order which apply to “any place to which the public or any section of the public has access, on payment or otherwise, as of right or by virtue of express or implied permission”. 
PSPOs also extend to permissive paths, parks and open spaces and any area of open access. An order is already in place for dog control.

Inspector Hasson Shigdar, North East Constituency Inspector for West Midlands Police, said: “We have concerns about some behaviour in the park and are very keen to see an order covering Edgwick Park. 

“An order will mean that the police and other authorities have extra powers to approach groups of people where there are concerns. 

“We will only be using the order where we observe activities that have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of local people. This includes cases of child sexual exploitation. 

“We know that the vast majority of people are responsible park users and we do not intend to restrict their enjoyment of the park.” 

A consultation is underway explaining the reason for the PSPO in Edgwick Park. Local people can provide their comments by visiting www.coventry.gov.uk/edgwickparkpspo. The consultation runs until 29 March.

The wording of an order for the park will indicate that, “The effect of this Order is to prohibit the congregation of groups of two or more persons in the Designated Area where the behaviour of some or all members of the group has or is likely to have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the community.” 

The Designated Area covers Edgwick Park and its boundary roads, outlined on a plan available on the Council’s website. 

The Council’s Child Sexual Exploitation Team said it is vital that people who are involved in child sexual exploitation know that they are under the spotlight. 

Sue Whitmore, Service Manager Responsible for Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), said the new PSPO is an important message that Coventry will not tolerate CSE. 

She said: “We work closely with the police and this will allow us to be more vigilant in monitoring and tackling concerns. We want children, young people and parents and carers to know that there are people who can help.

“Strong leadership, clear accountability, engagement with victims and staff, and pursuing and prosecuting the perpetrators of this crime is absolutely paramount.

“The PSPO will help disrupt and stop activities that pose a threat to children and young people.” 

Cllr Ed Ruane, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “It’s important that we take a pro-active approach at the park. We have responded to concerns amongst the local community and we want to continue to work closely with the police. 

“We hope that this sends out a clear message that people who commit CSE will be pursued and brought to justice. 

“Anyone who has any concerns about CSE should report it. We need to bring this into the public’s awareness.” 

A one-stop website for information, help and advice for young people, parents and carers, professionals and schools has been put together at www.seeme-hearme.org.uk as part of a wider regional campaign on CSE. 

To report any CSE concerns, call the police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or Coventry Social Care on 024 7678 8555 or out of hours on 024 7683 2222. 

Children and young people can call or text confidentially for FREE 24/7 on the national helpline 116 000.

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