Bid to crackdown on drunken louts using Cheshire town centre ‘as a public toilet’

New powers could be introduced in Macclesfield town centre next month to crackdown on booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour. Drunken louts have been urinating and defecating in public during the day and night and intimidating visitors to the town as well as shop staff.

Some town centre retail staff have quit their jobs because of the rowdy, loutish behaviour. Now Cheshire East’s environment and communities committee is being asked to implement a public spaces protection order (PSPO) for the town centre which could see individuals fined £100 if they refuse to hand over alcohol when asked to by police, police community support officers (PCSOs) or the council’s community enforcement officers.

A report due to go before Friday’s (July 1) committee meeting states: “For over 24 months now members of the public and businesses alike have been subject to rowdy, loutish behaviour from a minority because of the consumption of alcohol in public and subsequent behaviours that tend to follow this, such as using the area as a public toilet.

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“This can be during the day or during the evening when those who have visited the area to enjoy its night-time economy have used walls, flowerbeds, and shop frontages as toilet areas on their commute home.”

PSPOs provide additional powers and thresholds to allow authorised officers to deal with anti-social behaviour quickly and efficiently. Individuals who refuse to comply could find themselves before the courts. Before a PSPO can be implemented, evidence of the anti-social behaviour must be provided.

In May 2021 a sergeant in Cheshire Constabulary’s North Local Policing Unit asked the Neighbourhood Services Multi-Agency Action Group (MAAG) to consider a PSPO for Macclesfield town centre and surrounding areas due to an increase in incidents involving adults in alcohol-fuelled anti-social behaviour. MAAG agreed the initial legal thresholds had been met.

The report to Friday’s meeting states: “Incidents reported included individuals entering shops, demanding alcohol is served to them, causing public disorder and damage offences if this was refused. Targeting of the Age UK shop causing disturbances, putting off and scaring customers and causing staff members to resign, most of which were voluntary workers and some elderly members of the community.

“Urinating and defecating in public during the day and evening in shop doorways and planters being either witnessed by staff, public or people visiting or arriving at the town the next day to the results.” At the time of the MAAG nomination, police confirmed the area the PSPO is proposed to cover was responsible for over 40 per cent of the total number of anti-social behaviour incidents for the whole of Macclesfield.

“One business premises alone had reported over 30 incidents between January 2021 and April 2021 outlining alcohol related anti-social behaviour/offences,” states the report. Councillors are being recommended on Friday to approve the proposed PSPO which would run from July 18 2022 for three years.

Signs would be put up in keys areas of the town if the PSPO is approved.

The report states: “Enhanced joint patrols will take place in order to engage, educate, encourage on the PSPO with a view to moving to enforcement for those who are blatantly ignoring the terms of the PSPO.” The environment and communities committee meeting takes place on Friday, July 1 at 10.30 at the council’s Westfields HQ in Sandbach.

The area which will be covered by the PSPO if it is approved can be viewed here.

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