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City park users welcome new protection order

Published Friday, 22 April 2016

Visitors to a city park, and residents living nearby, have given their overwhelming backing for a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

West Midlands Police and the Council are introducing the PSPO at Edgwick Park following concerns about bad behaviour, including drug taking, drinking, and child safety issues among some park users.

A consultation encouraged people to state whether or not they were in support of the Edgwick Park PSPO and of those people who responded almost 100 per cent backed the plan. 

The order will give the police and other authorities extra powers to approach groups of people where they have concerns about criminality.

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

Signage is set to go up in the park next week clearly stating 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.”

Inspector Hasson Shigdar, North East Constituency Inspector for West Midlands Police, said: “There is overwhelming support for the PSPO from the community. Most people who use the park for recreation, and who enjoy the open spaces won’t be affected by the order.  

“Where we have concerns we can approach groups. We want to be able to disrupt groups where we suspect inappropriate behaviour. The order means that we can break up or approach groups of two or more people.”  

The Council’s Child Sexual Exploitation Team has welcomed the introduction of the PSPO. Nancy Meehan, Head of Service, Social Care and Family Intervention, said that people who commit child sexual exploitation need to know that they are under the spotlight. 

She said: “We should be doing all that we can to protect our children and young people from this horrific crime. The order will help arm agencies in tackling CSE, and pursuing and prosecuting the perpetrators of this crime is absolutely paramount.”

A final decision in support of the PSPO was made at a Council Cabinet meeting this week.

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