Cheshire council uses new laws to tackle anti-social behaviour

By Phil McCann
Cheshire Political Reporter, BBC News

image captionQueen's Park in Crewe is one of the areas where the new powers could be used

New laws could be used to tackle "rowdy, anti-social people who inflict misery" in parts of Cheshire.

Cheshire East Council wants to introduce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to stop people stealing fish from a lake, prevent so-called boy racers gathering and ban people from letting dogs off leads in some areas.

£100 on-the-spot fines could be handed to offenders.

However, there are concerns PSPOs threaten civil liberties.

The orders were introduced in 2014 to deal with issues that were "detrimental to the local community's quality of life".

Locations which could be subject to Public Space Protection Orders:

  • Macclesfield - police report young people being "loud and rowdy", drinking, using cannabis and legal highs near an underpass.
  • Poynton - owners of a sports club report "young adults" using the car park and intimidating visitors.
  • Crewe - police report vehicles being used "anti-socially" in a car park as well as dogs causing problems and fish being stolen from the lake at Queen's Park.
  • Alsager - reports of "boy racers" creating noise and litter at a car park late at night.

Cheshire East Council leader Michael Jones said: "These are tough new measures which we intend to enforce robustly."

Civil liberties group the Manifesto Club, which campaigns against over-regulation, has criticised the powers, claiming they are "so broad" they allow councils to ban "pretty much anything".

Josie Appleton, director of the campaign group, said previously: "The result is a patchwork of criminal law where something is illegal in one town but not in the next, or in one street but not the next.

"This makes it hard for the public to know what is criminal and what is not."

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