Birmingham City Centre: 81 intoxication & anti-social behaviour PSPO breaches recorded in 2022

Six officers currently patrol the city centre with the power to identify breaches

Dozens of people were found to have breached public space protection laws in Birmingham city centre last year as authorities crack down on intoxication and anti-social behaviour. The City Centre Public Space Protection Order (CCPSPO) recorded 81 breaches since January 2022, most of which were related to alcohol.

Six officers currently patrol the city centre with the power to identify breaches. This number will decrease to two in March 2023.

What leads to a PSPO breach in the city centre?

Behaviours that could lead to breaching a PSPO include large groups harassing or alarming the public, and possessing or consuming intoxicating substances in a protected area. Drinking alcohol in the open and causing a nuisance is also grounds for a breach, as are incidents of graffiti.

Every breach of a PSPO will result in a warning letter at first, then a fixed penalty notice fine if subsequent breaches occur. Failure to comply with the fixed penalty notice could result in a court summons and a fine of up to £1,000.

The rules were agreed upon this time last year and seek to combat behaviour that could have a ‘detrimental effect on the quality of life’ of those in the area. They give police greater powers to combat anti-social behaviour and look to make the city centre a more wholesome place.

Speaking at a Birmingham City Council meeting this week, head of community safety Pamela Powis said: “We activate breaches mostly to do with alcohol-related issues, secondly with intoxicating substances, and then it’s anti-social behaviour. To date, we haven’t had any breaches to do with graffiti.”

The scene where a 13-year-old boy has been stabbed outside the McDonalds by Stephenson Place in Birmingham city centre, January 19, 2023

Has the PSPO helped?

Cllr Izzy Knowles (Lib Dems, Moseley) asked: “There have been recent reports in the press about the amount of crime and anti-social behaviour reported in the city centre which I think is one of the hotspots. I wondered since the PSPO has been introduced, has there been any reduction in that and what difference has it made?”

Ms Powis said further testing on the before-and-after effects is in the pipeline, but when a PSPO is introduced in any location, she said there is a reduction of approximately 20-30 per cent of anti-social behaviour. She added further reductions occur when warning letters start being issued.

On graffiti, Cllr Philip Davis (Lab, Billesley) said: “My concern is the police have a very laid back attitude to prosecution and investigation here. Because they feel the cases of graffiti are unlikely to be treated that seriously by the courts, the police are not really geared up to investigate because, in my experience, graffiti appears at night.

“Really we need the police to be more proactive on this issue, identify the taggers, and get some arrests. There is a problem there which needs addressing in terms of police attitudes.”