Bristol City Council crack down on anti-social behaviour

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By Maddy Russell, Second Year Politics and International Relations

Bristol City Council is cracking down on so-called anti-social behavior in public spaces, data has shown.

The number of people being fined by the council has risen significantly over the past year, with 10,025 people receiving 'petty fines' for breaking council orders in 2018. In comparison, only 1,967 fines were given out for similar offences in 2017.

The number of penalties for those caught consuming alcohol in public spaces has also increased, with the majority of those receiving fines being between the ages of 20 and 29.

Bristol student Bertie White was fined £60 in March for consuming a beer on College Green, but claimed he was unable to see clear signposts designating the area as a non-drinking zone.

In a statement to Epigram, White said: 'Receiving that fine was incredibly disappointing, money at university is always tight, and a £60 fine makes any month much more difficult.

'I think if you are going to have the rule in place it has to be clearly signposted, otherwise all you are doing is taking advantage of people who don't know better, especially as the rule is inconsistently applied across Bristol.'

Public drinking on College Green and in other spaces within the City Centre has been illegal in Bristol since 2017, when the City Council passed the Public Spaces Protection Order.

In February, an external enforcement company, 3GS, was hired by the council to tackle so-called 'environmental crime'.

As part of the crackdown, those caught committing minor offences such as littering, drinking in designated alcohol-free areas and fly-tipping will now be given an on-the-spot fine of between £60 and £200.

In protest to the alcohol ban, a 'drink-in' has been organized in Castle Park on the 25 May. Participants in the protest have been encouraged to consume alcohol beverages in the park as part of a mass demonstration against 'unfair fines and theft of community spaces'.

In response to the new measures, a spokesman for Bristol City Council said: 'Making the city a cleaner, more pleasant place to live and work for everyone is a top priority for both residents and the council.

'Public Space Protection Order (PSPOs) are used where anti-social behaviour is having a negative effect on the quality of life in certain areas.

'Notices regarding the orders are displayed via signs on lamp posts as well as appearing on the council website, we would urge students and the university to be aware of where such order may be in effect.'

Featured image: James Cleaver / Epigram


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