Area where 'nothing is working'

Liverpool Council want to crack down on anti-social behaviour
Smithdown Road -Credit:Smithdown Road

Fines could be handed out to curb anti-social behaviour involving children as young as 10 in one part of Liverpool as the city council admits “nothing is working.”

With issues around “abusive and intimidating behaviour,” street drinking and overcrowded housing blighting communities around Whittier Street and the north west area around Smithdown Road, Liverpool Council is seeking to tighten up its response with the implementation of a public space protection order (PSPO). Despite resources being invested into the area by the city and partners including Merseyside Police, residents have spoken of their frustration at ongoing issues.

A student who had been housed in the area during their studies described living in the community as “the worst experience of my life.”

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A council can make a PSPO if it believes activities in a public place within the authority's area have had a “detrimental effect on the quality of life.” Once an order is made, the police, police community support officers and others authorised by Liverpool Council would have powers to issue fixed penalty notices for such breaches.

According to analysis by the authority, the area identified for inclusion in the PSPO has “significant issues that have deteriorated over time despite interventions.”

A report to be discussed at the council’s highways and public spaces representations committee next week said: “Examples of this behaviour include large gatherings in the streets until late at night being very noisy and sometimes drinking, loud music being played from houses and cars also into the night, very young children often left unsupervised out late at night, ASB including throwing stones and kicking footballs at doors and windows along with abusive and intimidating behaviour.

“As well as these behaviours the community also experience physical issues with poorly maintained and overcrowded housing, utilities being dangerously bridged and poor street lighting.”

The proposed order would be effective for a period of three years and will allow officials to deal with breaches through the issue of Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs). This will be reviewed monthly with a formal assessment after three then six months.

The local authority report said: “It is now apparent that the current interventions alone are not working.”

Landlords in the area are also being assessed by the city council who are failing to manage their properties correctly. Since May last year, one offender has been under caution for breaching a community protection notice.

A series of warning letters have been issued to residents who fall within the proposed PSPO space since 2021 with private sector housing teams investigating one property in particular. A total of 13 Acceptable Behaviour Contracts have been issued to children some as young as 10 with the council’s report admitting “nothing is working,” adding: “That is why we need this PSPO.”
The area in question falls within the Arundel ward, represented by Cllr Laura Robertson-Collins. She said: “There have been long-term issues there, such as overcrowding in very small houses.

“This is a measure being used alongside a number of others to help the police and we can send a message that we’re tackling it. It gives us the opportunities to intervene if needed.

“It’s a really good area in terms of transport links and schools and we want people to benefit from that.”

However, this has not been the case for some, with one respondent to Liverpool Council research saying they had developed alopecia due to stress from living in the area and “bottles being shot at our window.” The student said: “This has been the worst experience of my life.

“I’m nearly being sick writing this it has affected me that much.”

Councillors will consider the matter at Liverpool Town Hall next Friday.

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