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Thetford Town Centre Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO)

An area around the Town Centre of Thetford is subject to a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). This gives the police and other authorised persons greater powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in that area, by issuing fixed-penalty notices (on-the-spot fines). The area covered is shown on the map below. It includes King Street, Kings House Gardens, Market Place, Thetford Riverside, Melford Common, Castle Park, Ford Meadow, Lady Gentle Meadow, Butten Island, Thetford Priory, and the eastern half of Abbey Meadows. The activities prohibited by the order are:

  1. The consumption of alcohol in a public place (except for within licensed premises);
  2. Urination and defecation in a public place (except for public toilets);
  3. Riding of skateboards, bicycles and other self-propelled wheeled vehicles in an anti-social manner within the pedestrianised zones.

Despite the consumption of alcohol being formally banned in the PSPO area, it is only an offence to continue consuming it or not to hand it over when requested by an authorised person. In other words, you cannot be fined for merely drinking alcohol, only for not stopping and handing it over when asked to. With regards to cycling and skateboarding, the only offences under the PSPO are for riding "in such a manner as to cause damage to property, or nuisance or annoyance to any other person", although other offences may exist under the pedestrian zone legislation.

The initial order, made in December 2017 expired in December 2020. In October 2020, Breckland District Council launched a consultation over extending the PSPO for another three years. On 30th November, the Breckland Cabinet agreed to extend the PSPO (item 79/201).

The Thetford Public Spaces Protection Order was made by Breckland District Council with advice from Norfolk Police and the Safer Thetford Action Group (STAG), following a public consultation. The Order came into force on 7th December 2017. It initially lasted for three years, but has since been renewed for another three years. Further renewals can be made after that. The Orders are made under the terms of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, and replaced the previous "Designated Public Place Orders".

The activities prohibited under a Public Spaces Protection Order need to be shown to be having detrimental effect on the quality of life of those living, working and visiting the area, and be of a persistent or continuing nature. In addition to being enforced by Police Officers, the Council making the Order has the power to authorise additional persons to carry out enforcement. As of February 2018, no such additional persons have been authorised by Breckland District Council.