Legal order helping to improve safety in town centre

Published 6th November 2019

Reports of anti-social behaviour and disorder have fallen significantly in the first year of a legal order introduced in West Bromwich town centre.

The public spaces protection order (PSPO) aims to prevent and reduce problems, alongside a range of other measures to improve safety in the town.

In the first year of the order, reports of anti-social behaviour fell by 29.3% and disorder by 30.7% compared the previous year.

Sandwell Council environmental protection officers (EPOs) issued 50 £100 fines between October 2018 and July 2019 for breaches of the West Bromwich PSPO relating to harassment, alarm and distress and aggressive or fraudulent begging.

The PSPO was introduced in August 2018 and enforcement began in October 2018 following a two-month period of education and awareness raising.

The PSPO for West Bromwich town centre complements existing PSPOs in place across the whole of Sandwell that restrict nuisance related to alcohol and dogs. Between August 2018 and July 2019, council EPOs issued nine £100 fines in West Bromwich town centre for nuisance drinking in public and dog fouling.

The council, police, West Bromwich Business Improvement District, Sandwell College and other partners are working together to tackle problems and improve safety.

Councillor Maria Crompton, Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “We’re really pleased the PSPO is making a difference as we want West Bromwich to be a friendly, happy place for visitors, shoppers, residents and people who work in the town.

“The PSPO is an extra tool to help us prevent problems.

“We know there is still work to do – but this is a good start and we’ll continue to closely monitor the effectiveness of the PSPO and respond to issues that people report to us.”

Other measures to improve safety in the town have included:

  • better street lighting and CCTV
  • the council’s control room and CCTV cameras providing evidence to the police, environmental protection officers and others to help reduce problems
  • a radio link used by the police and BID staff to help them respond faster
  • joint patrols by BID ambassadors with police officers and council EPOs
  • the council’s EPOs carrying out 2,347 hours of foot patrols
  • making sure designs for new developments reduce opportunities for anti-social behaviour
  • putting people begging and rough sleeping in touch with services that can help them – our housing teams have actively engaged with rough sleepers who, because of their vulnerability, have been offered support

Feedback from West Bromwich Business Improvement District surveys indicate an increase in people ‘feeling safe’.

Police records for anti-social behaviour reports fell from 460 to 325 (a 29.3% reduction) and disorder from 182 to 126 (a 30.7% reduction) in the 12-month period from August 2018 to July 2019 compared to August 2017 to July 2018.

Information reporting anti-social behaviour

Information on PSPOs in Sandwell

If you are concerned about a rough sleeper, contact your Sandwell Local centre on 0121 368 1166 – option 2. The council and its partner organisations provide a range of support and accommodation for rough sleepers in Sandwell.

Outside of office hours, call the out-of-hours emergency service on 0121 569 6883.

Sandwell is running several initiatives to address homelessness and support rough sleepers.

These include building new council homes – almost one in 20 of all new council properties built in the whole of England in 2018/19 were built in Sandwell.

Sandwell has its Housing First pilot to support rough sleepers with complex needs, the Welfare Rights Income and Money Advice Line on 0121 569 3158 and a partnership with Midland Langar Seva which offers help to people living on the streets or facing homelessness.