Councils to crackdown on Substance Abuse

Nitrous Oxide Cannisters

New powers have been introduced to tackle the use of psychoactive substances and ‘legal highs’ linked to anti-social behaviour. These new powers include tackling the use of nitrous oxide, sometimes known as ‘laughing gas’.

Concerns had been raised locally about the use of nitrous oxide. Particularly regarding the little silver canisters, often left behind in parks and other public spaces. In addition to the dangers of misusing such substances.

New Public Spaces Protection Order

In a joint initiative, Harborough District Council and Oadby & Wigston Borough Council have introduced a new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO). This order prohibits the use of psychoactive substances in public places. Breaking the order will be a criminal offence, and could result in a fixed penalty notice of £100 or prosecution.

The move follows a public consultation in May by both Councils. 82% of respondents in Harborough District were in favour of the new powers. 78% of people in favour in Oadby and Wigston Borough.

Eye-catching signage and posters will now be displayed in public places advising people about the new powers and the penalties.

Cllr Simon Whelband, Harborough District Council’s Cabinet lead on community safety:

“We are tackling this issue head on and responding to the concerns of our residents. They told us they wanted more to be done to deal with this serious issue. These new powers do exactly that.

This is a great example of joint-working with Police, and a neighbouring local authority. I am hopeful the PSPO will make a positive difference to the environment, and potentially save lives.”

Cllr Kevin Loydall, Chair, Oadby and Wigston Community Safety Partnership:

“The discovery of small silver canisters and the associated anti-social behaviour has become a common occurrence for our local residents. The Borough Council’s consultation showed that local people wanted us to take a tougher stance. Working with partners at Harborough

and Leicestershire Police to introduce this PSPO has given us the opportunity to do just that.”

Inspector Jim Purdie, commander for the Harborough and Wigston Neighbourhood Policing Area (NPA):

“Our officers will continue carrying out routine patrols in areas where we believe psychoactive substances are being used. We are grateful for the support from our local authority partners. The PSPOs will act as a deterrent to anyone using such substances.

They will also allow officers to deal with offenders by way of issuing a fixed penalty notice. I would encourage anyone with information or concerns to continue reporting matters to us or their local council.”

There are already two PSPOs in operation across the Harborough District:

  • One for Dog Fouling.
  • One for Alcohol related Anti-social Behaviour in Market Harborough and Lutterworth town centres.

Likewise, Oadby and Wigston also have a Dog Fouling PSPO in place.

Leicestershire Police

Harborough District Council approved the new PSPO on 27 September. Oadby and Wigston Borough Council on 13July.