Perry’s PSPO will just move ‘problems’ out of town centre

Dressed up as a ‘war on anti-social behaviour’ and used as an excuse for clearing the streets of drinkers, the latest proposals will allow the cash-strapped council to issue money-making fines for often trivial offences. By our Town Hall reporter, KEN LEE

Street thinkers: part-time Mayor Perry was on North End with Borough Commander Dave Stringer (centre) within days of his election in May

The council has started a six-week consultation on what it misleadingly describes as a “new” Public Space Protection Order, or PSPO, for the area outside the Whitgift Centre, North End, Croydon High Street and bits of South Croydon, Broad Green and Waddon.

In fact, it’s just a re-boot of the old PSPO, with knobs on, as the council seeks to invest itself with additional powers to dish out money-spinning on-the-spot fines for a range of offences.

The consultation is a legal requirement to tick a few boxes, and has been made necessary because the previous PSPO was allowed to lapse, with council officials failing to fill out the necessary paperwork to ensure it was renewed – what happens when a local authority goes bust and then hands out redundancy notices to staff willy-nilly.

PSPOs in other parts of the borough, including South Norwood, are also being prepared for consultation later in the year, as Jason Perry, Croydon’s £81,000 per year part-time Mayor, tries to showboat on how he’s in some ways tougher on street drinkers than the last lot.

Displacement theory: the revised PSPO area (outlined in blue) covering the town centre, East and West Croydon Croydon Stations, and parts of Broad Green and Waddon

The council propaganda department failed to respond to Inside Croydon questions about which other areas are going to be PSPO’d, or when those consultations might be expected to go live.

Significantly, in this week’s PSPO consultation announcement from the propaganda bunker, the interests of big business (and medium-sized businesses, too), were given some prominence, with the members of Croydon BID – the business “improvement” district, who pay to get extra police officers along North End – being quoted about why clearing the streets of the homeless and drinkers might help their trade.

According to Matthew Sims, Croydon BID’s chief exec, his organisation is “determined to improve the safety of all those that visit, live and work in the town centre”.

The council announcement included no figures for how having a PSPO in the town centre previously had somehow magically eliminated the number of stabbings occurring in the town centre while it was in force.

“We welcome the council’s move to support the business community in dealing with antisocial behaviour in the town centre,” Sims said, getting a little closer to the real reasons for the PSPO.

Street cleaner: Croydon BID’s Matthew Sims

The council’s propagandists said, “PSPOs are used to address specific nuisances or problems which are detrimental to local quality of life by imposing conditions on the use of a particular area.

“These orders allow councils and the police to specifically target antisocial behaviour and create safer and more welcoming environments for local residents, visitors, and businesses.”

The hypocrisy and contradictions of the PSPO system, especially in relation to some of the businesses it claims to “protect”, are blatant and obvious.

So… under the terms of Perry’s PSPO, if you spend £1.20 on a bottle of lager from Lidl on Church Street and sit in the street to drink it, you face being fined up to £120.

But if you go to Mr Fox round the corner, pay £9.50 for a Rhubarb Paloma and sit outside the pub in part of the public highway they have been allowed to annex, then you can do so with impunity.

What’s more, the PSPO will allow the cash-strapped council to hire in a private security firm as high street bounty hunters, firing off Penalty Charge Notices for even the most trivial of offences, all the while collecting a nice juicy commission.

No fine zone: street drinkers sitting outside this Surrey Street pub will escape any PSPO restrictions

In the council announcement this week, they say, “The proposed PSPO would cover the town centre and its surrounding area, including parts of South Croydon and Broad Green. This is to cover antisocial behaviour hotspots close to the town centre, preventing it moving from the town centre to nearby parks and public spaces.”

“I know that residents care about our town centre, which is why I am determined to restore pride in Croydon, making the most of our council powers and working closely with the police to keep residents and visitors safe,” said part-time Perry.

Proposed conditions of the new town centre PSPO include allowing the police to seize and dispose of open alcohol containers, disperse individuals causing harassment, distress or alarm, and enforcement through fines or prosecutions.

Katharine Street sources remain sceptical of the use of PSPOs as a “blunt instrument”, which fails to address the underlying reasons behind the anti-social behaviour over which Perry and the police appear so concerned. “We saw how it worked under the PSPO previously: it just sees street drinkers moved on to become somebody else’s problem.

“They will cross the road to exit the PSPO zone and find a bench elsewhere.

“Meanwhile, staff from the private security firm, this privatised police force, will issue fines to little old ladies who might drop their shopping list in the street by accident, while failing to deal with a more troublesome gang hanging around on a street corner.”

The consultation, which can be accessed online here, runs until Thursday September 15.

“Residents are asked to let the council know about their personal experiences of anti-social behaviour and alcohol-related crime in central Croydon, as well as their views on how to tackle this.”

Become a Patron!

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
This entry was posted in Broad Green, Business, Crime, Croydon BID, Croydon Council, Dave Stringer, East Croydon, Fairfield, Mayor Jason Perry, Policing, Pubs, Surrey Street, Waddon, West Croydon, Whitgift Centre and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Perry’s PSPO will just move ‘problems’ out of town centre

  1. Peter Underwood says:

    We’ve been here before.

    Why does the mayor think that you can deal with social problems by turning people into criminals? Many of the people who will be targeted by this PSPO need support, not fines. If the Mayor really cared about solving these ‘problems’ then he would be providing more homes for homeless people; more youth centres for young people; more support services for dealing with addictions; and more mental health provision for everyone.

    Criminalising and fining people just for behaving in ways you find a bit annoying was a bad idea when Labour introduced it. It’s still a bad idea now

  2. Ian Kierans says:

    Peter is quite right but about a large minority of those creating disorder. However a majority creating the issues in the areas are not homeless, not alcoholics, not substance abusers and definitely not local either.

    Live in the area 24hrs and you see the regulars. Peter would be surprised at the level of high end cars many of the culprits drive up in and park in the side roads of the London Road. not so much over in Parsons Mead since the ANPR went in for the obvious reasons as their presences would be recorded daily – (hourly at their business peak times). They are the suppliers, receivers and distributors to the bike, skateboard or electric scooter speed dial brigade.

    No surprise that (strangely) the zone does not extend to the key side roads at Broad Green. I mean it is not as if the authorities are unaware of what occurs as they have had quite a lot of reports over the years. Mostly ignored sadly.

    But again with the watchers the chances of any of the current enforcement crowd with the processes and resources they have of actually catching anyone is slim to nil – and Slim left with Eminem many moons ago.

  3. Ian Kierans says:

    On another note – Again thank you to IC for this link. Surprisingly no one I have spoken to so far in the last few hours were even aware that this was happening.
    This goes direct to the heart of this Community from Central to the Pond – so many organisations including the CVA get a lot of money and there is extremely poor communications to residents and less to those without digital means and that is a lot in a deprived area.

    One wonders – is this intentional? Frankly the Council and the SNT need to be a lot more active in their communications if they are going to engage a very diverse community and regain credibility.

    One would also ask the local Councillors why they are not asking this Mayor for better communications of this ‘old initiative’ facsimile springs to mind yet again.
    One has to express some gratitude to our Gallic neighbors for that oft use phrase ”Deja Vu”

  4. Croydon’s proposed PSPO limits its definitions of antisocial behaviours and activities to street drinking, urinating in public, or people acting in a manner you think likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

    But if you behave antisocially or worse when driving, the consultation exercise ignores this.

    Compare that to what the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea has done with its PSPO powers. Last year it banned the following anywhere (curiously only between the hours of 12 noon and 6am instead of 24/7):

    – Revving of engine(s) (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Sudden and/or rapid acceleration (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Repeated sudden and/or rapid acceleration (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Racing by two or more vehicles
    – Performing stunts (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Sounding horns (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Playing music from a vehicle (as to cause a public nuisance)
    – Using threatening, intimidating behaviour towards another person
    – Causing obstruction on a public highway, whether moving or stationary, including driving in convoy

    Breaching this Order can result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £100, or on summary conviction in a Magistrates’ Court, a maximum fine of £1,000.

    Kensington & Chelsea council’s public consultation found “significant” support (84 per cent) for the order, and they have backed this with “acoustic” cameras to catch drivers who inflict their noise on everyone else.

    People living in Waddon and Broad Green who endure the regular “cruises” along the Purley Way and anyone woken up in the small hours by boy racers will welcome Croydon council copying what Kensington & Chelsea have done. Same goes for people scared of cycling on our roads or driving within the speed limit.

    Getting tough in this way would help topple Croydon from its dubious position at the top of the league of the most dangerous roads in outer London, as reported by Inside Croydon last month

    Croydon council’s consultation exercise at allows you, at question 8 to say if you’ve experienced other problems, at question 11, to “strongly disagree” with the proposed map limiting the “town centre” to a small area while question 12 asks “Do you have any other ideas for how the council can reduce antisocial behaviour in the town centre?”.

    For safer and quieter roads, use your answers to questions 8, 11 and 12 to push Croydon into following Kensington & Chelsea’s lead.

  5. Hazel swain says:

    just looked at the map.. my street in the south is the wrong side of the blue line.. just.. and we are already plagued with street drinkers and drug uses.. this will just push more on to the street…. as for car parking .. can barely get a space in our street as the road is full up with those who live elsewhere and dont have permits… our restrictions end at 5pm so its a free for all .

  6. Lewis White says:

    Anti-social behavior tends to come in where there is a lack of social behaviour….a vacuum.

    A few months ago I asked a few traders in the now dead “2 way cycle lane and and 1 way bus lane” section of the High Street about the impact of moving the South-bound bus stops away from the zone near Sainsbury’s facing the top of Surrey street, to a remote position several hundred metres down towards South End, about a hundred metres beyond the flyover.

    They said that trade had collapsed, by about 50% to 75% . I had asked them because the bus stops going Southwards at this point used to be routinely packed. The fotways on both sides likewise very busy at al times of day.

    Two- way buses brought shoppers and workers to and from the zone , so that heavily laden market customers going Southwards would only have to lug their heavy shopping bags up to the top end of Surrey Street, cross the zebra, and then get their bus home easily.

    Now, there were were almost no people — just empty tarmac where dozens of buses and cars used to be. I thought of staging a sit down strike on the zebra crossing holding a baner, saying “Bring back South-bound buses!”– but I woulld have inconvenienced so few people by doing so, that I would have had to sit there for a week.

    The best regular customers left were ones who nipped in for some sweets or a can of drink-then nipped out without paying.

    I stood , in the middle of the road, on a pedestrian refuge, on a sunny mid afternoon in Spring, and counted no more than a delveroo cyclist every couple of minutes. That was it.

    I could have lied down in the road for several minutes and no got run over !. This is in a space that once was crammed with shoppers and workers.

    If the council want to reduce a.s.b. they need to look at bringing back 2 -way buses, as this will bring back the shoppers. Can’t bikes safely share bus lanes? The speed limit is 20 mph, isn’t it?

    Other things that need to be done are —
    1- Bring back litter bins at EVERY bus stop and at regular intervals along the street
    2- EMPTY the bins so that they are not overflowing by 7pm at night
    3- Bring back a random uniformed police presence
    4- wash down the streets in summer every week to remove the dust and grease.
    5- good lighting by night, that is sufficently bright but not too bright.

    plus of course, Greening- to make the town centre less grey and more welcoming.

    I do hope they don’t end up with squads of private security guards fining little of gents and ladies for dropping a till receipt, or even smokers dropping a tiny fag end.

    And –a final thought–if the Government brought out a can and bottle recycling scheme, the number of dropped cans and bottes would fall to zero.

  7. Pete jenkins says:

    And what about the new missing bus shelters there and all over the Borough?

Leave a Reply