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Leader Wayne Fitzgerald's blog - 11 August

10 August 2023

Keeping our city centre safe and making it an inviting place for everyone to visit is one of our key priorities.

Back in 2017 we established a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering areas including Cathedral Square and Bridge Street, setting out conditions that people within the zone must adhere to, such as not committing anti-social behaviour.

Our enforcement officers actively work with partners, including the police, to regularly patrol the area and will take appropriate action against anyone who breaches those conditions.

That’s exactly what happened to two street drinkers who persistently drank alcohol within the area and refused to dispose of their drinks when requested by officers.

Mark Currie and Steven Thain were handed Criminal Behaviour Orders by magistrates recently, meaning they can now face an instant arrest if they breach the ruling, such as for drinking alcohol in the PSPO zone. They must also have a valid reason for entering the area.

I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, including Area Commander Superintendent Neil Billany for the support of the police, which of course is crucial in such incidents.

The PSPO has helped to drive down many types of anti-social behaviour in the city centre and earlier this year we extended the initiative until 2026, following a public consultation.

Everyone has the right to feel safe in the city centre and having the PSPO in place will continue to encourage people to do their shopping and visit the many bars and restaurants.

As this latest case shows there is still a minority of people who will sadly look to cause trouble. However, with the continued persistence of the council and our MP Paul Bristow, we will continue to tackle these issues, which I would add are certainly not unique to Peterborough.

Our Housing Needs team helps vulnerable people to find accommodation and they recently worked against the odds to support one such person facing life on the streets.

Over the past few months, the team has worked with a lady called Maria to support her with her homeless application and to prevent her from rough sleeping. Despite living in the country for many years, she was initially not eligible for housing assistance or any benefits.

After a spell in hospital, Maria was facing the prospect of living on the streets, but the team intervened and she was offered night shelter accommodation in conjunction with one of our partner agencies.

The team continued to support Maria, helping her to get ID from the Embassy in London, meaning she can now apply for benefits and get on to the Housing Register.

I would like to thank everyone involved in this case, which shows that the team will treat everyone as an individual and go the extra distance when needed. By offering rough sleepers the chance to leave the streets, the team is also helping with our upkeep of the city centre.

Just another quick reminder about our careers fair taking place this month which is aimed at helping young people.

The event takes place at Sand Martin House on 17 August and more employers are signing up every day for this. It’s a free event and one with a difference, as there will be demonstrations of VR and AI, and even an interactive climbing wall.

If you know a young person who is looking for ideas or knowledge on their future career, please attend; to find out more go to Eventbrite and search for Future You Careers Event.

Finally, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching the Lionesses in the World Cup and as any England football fan knows, winning a penalty shootout doesn’t happen too often!

I’m looking forward to cheering them on against Colombia in the quarter finals on Saturday and wish everyone involved the very best of luck.