STROUD District Council made no use of ASBO-style orders aimed at tackling nuisance behaviour last year, figures reveal.

A council can issue Public Spaces Protection Orders to ban activities it judges have had, or will have, a “detrimental” effect on the quality of life of people in the area.

They can also give out Community Protection Notices, which can place legal restrictions on people whose behaviour is deemed to have a similar negative effect on a community’s quality of life.

But Stroud District Council issued no PSPOs in 2019, according to Freedom of Information requests submitted by the campaign group the Manifesto Club, while they also made no use of CPNs in the year to October last year.

Across England and Wales, 8,760 CPNs were issued by 202 councils in the year to October – the highest number recorded by the civil liberties group and up from 6,234 by 192 councils the previous year.

And local authorities gave out 10,413 PSPOs in 2019, up from 9,930 a year earlier.

The group said CPNs have been used to ban begging, sitting on pavements, and to order people to tidy up messy gardens, while the reasons for fines for breaching PSPOs included shouting or swearing, loitering, charity collecting, and standing in groups.

Director of the Manifesto Club Josie Appleton said the test for what constitutes detrimental behaviour was “unprecedentedly low” for criminal intervention, and that the powers were hard to appeal.

She added: “These blank-cheque busybody powers are the cause of immense injustice, and a fundamental threat to our freedoms. They should be removed from the statute book.”

The use of the powers was very unevenly spread between areas – while Nottingham City Council issued the most CPNS of those that provided figures (1,464), Stroud District Council was among more than 80 saying they hadn’t used them at all.

SDC Community Services and Licensing Committee Chair Chris Brine said: “Stroud District Council takes the issue of dog control and fouling very seriously and has four Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) which tackle these issues. PSPOs require dog owners to pick up dog faeces, to put dogs on leads when directed to do so by an officer, to keep dogs out of areas such as children’s playgrounds and to keep dogs on leads in designated areas such as allotments, cemeteries, car parks, canal towpaths, and designated cycle tracks.

"We consult with the public and partner agencies on PSPOs. An example of this is the recent decision to go against our own proposal to allow dogs off leads in some designated areas, because that was what the majority of consultation respondents asked us to do.

"While PSPOs act as a deterrent to dog fouling, we also provide approximately 1,400 litter and dog waste bins for use across the District. However, we can and will take appropriate enforcement action when necessary, which can include issuing Fixed Penalty Notices or even prosecution in the courts.

"Officers do ordinarily patrol in reported hotspots, including outside normal working hours, and we would encourage members of the public to inform us of fouling issues. If they are prepared to provide witness statements of unlawful incidents then we can even consider enforcement action using that evidence alone.

“We also have a PSPO in place to allow police to tackle anti-social behaviour from street drinkers in certain parts of Dursley and Stroud town centre.”