Consultation on introducing a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for Psychoactive Substance misuse

From: 07/05/2021 To: 18/06/2021.

Harborough residents are being asked to have their say on the introduction of a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for use of psychoactive substances, such as nitrous oxide, linked to anti-social behaviour.

Concerns have been raised by the Police and Harborough District Council about an increase in calls about drug paraphernalia linked to psychoactive substance misuse - in particular the little silver nitrous oxide canisters, often left behind en masse in parks and other public open spaces. The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 introduced legislation to deal with substances, often referred to as ‘legal highs’.

This legislation, though, only made it a criminal offence to supply or be in possession with intent to supply psychoactive substances such as nitrous oxide (sometimes known as 'laughing gas') and made no provision to deal with possession and recreational use.

A PSPO is an order that can prohibit a specified issue from affecting a public place and provides police and local authorities with an appropriate sanction. We already have two PSPOs in operation across the Harborough District, one for dog fouling and alcohol related anti-social behaviour in Market Harborough and Lutterworth town centres. Fixed penalty notices of £150, or fines of up to £2,500 if it goes to court, can already be issued for littering offences.

The consultation on the new order goes live on Friday 7 May 2021 and is open for comments until 18 June 2021.