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Rhondda Cynon Taf: Intoxicating substances PSPO

Rhondda Cynon Taf: Intoxicating substances PSPO

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The council is planning to extend controls on alcohol and drug related anti-social behaviour in public places in Rhondda Cynon Taf for another three years.

A council cabinet meeting on Thursday, September 23 will consider a recommendation for the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) covering the whole county borough to control alcohol and intoxicating substance related anti-social behaviour to continue.

It includes two defined exclusion zones to control intoxicating substance use (including alcohol) in public places within Aberdare and Pontypridd town centres.

If approved, a new PSPO will be introduced for a three year period to include the same conditions as the 2018 PSPO with a fine of £100 for breaching it.

They will also be asked to approve alterations to the boundary of the 2018 intoxicating substances zone in Pontypridd to include the area
around Taff Vale Flats in Lower Graig, the area outside Ty Pennant,
Pontypridd and the underpass area adjacent to Pontypridd Bus Station.

South Wales Police officers and local councillors have said that although the Pontypridd Intoxicating Substances Exclusion Zone encompasses the majority of the town centre area, there are locations on the boundaries of the
map which have been identified as hot spots for street drinking and
substance misuse and would benefit from inclusion in the zone.

In 2018, following consultation, cabinet approved the Intoxicating Substances (Including Alcohol) PSPO which designated the whole of Rhondda Cynon Taf as a “Controlled Drinking Zone” and the areas of Aberdare and Pontypridd Town Centres as designated “Intoxicating Substances Exclusion Zones.”

This meant that in the whole of RCT people were not allowed to drink alcohol in a public place if they continue drinking without reasonable excuse or fail to surrender their alcohol when asked to stop by an authorised officer.

In Aberdare and Pontypridd town centres, this meant a ban on consuming, ingesting, inhaling, injecting, smoking or other use of intoxicating substances in a public place.

These areas were chosen because data analysis indicated higher than average levels of alcohol related anti-social behaviour in the council wards that cover them compared to other wards of RCT and this is still the case with 95 incidents in Aberdare East ward since 2017 and 55 in Pontypridd Town.

The 2018 Order was authorised for the maximum three year period and the current Intoxicating Substances (Including Alcohol) PSPO has
been in place since September 2018 and so it came to an end on September 1, 2021.

The council therefore had to consult on whether a new order is needed.

The report said that the vast majority of people who are approached by an
enforcement officer comply with a request to top drinking and dispose of or hand over intoxicating substances like alcohol.

Because of this the council has only needed to issue 21 fines for breach of the PSPO since 2019.

The report said that the impact of the PSPO on alcohol related anti-social behaviour incidents to date is difficult to pinpoint.

The number of “all anti-social behaviour” incidents in both Aberdare and Pontypridd town centres did begin to decline steadily from the implementation of the PSPO in 2018, but in 2020/2021 penalties for breaching Covid regulations were introduced and these were counted in with the anti-social behaviour figures and that has skewed the figures, the report said.

The number of alcohol related anti-social behaviour incidents in both town centres has reduced overall since the implementation of the PSPO in 2018,
from a total of 52 incidents to 29 incidents.

In terms of the consultation on extending the PSPO, the report said: “Public perception remains that alcohol consumption in public spaces within RCT is a problem, particularly in the two principal town centres of
Aberdare and Pontypridd. Misuse of other substances is also reported.

“There is public support for retaining PSPO restrictions within the
borough and in the town centres of Aberdare and Pontypridd with the
majority of respondents agreeing that the PSPO will have a positive
impact on both town centre.”

Words: Anthony Lewis, Local Democracy Reporter

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