PSPOs will add to police powers in fight against anti-social behaviour in Leigh-on-Sea

Fines for public urination, littering, consuming alcohol and anti-social behaviour in Leigh-on-Sea will be dished out when a new protection order comes into play.

With a curfew unlikely to be implemented, police – who have issued four dispersal orders in the area this year – they will use knife arches at Leigh Station at weekends and when large crowds are expected.

The order will also allow officers to dish out fines to anyone urinating, defecating, littering, consuming alcohol and behaving in an antisocial manner.

Chief Inspector Ian Hughes said: “We welcome any additional powers that can be used not only by Essex Police but our partners. We see PSPOs as putting in preventative measures rather than having to rely on action all the time.

“This is a preventative measure to address a long-standing problem in Old Leigh.

“We don’t want to stop people using our beauty spots but its about ensuring they use them responsibly in the interests of other users, licensed premises, residents and workers.”

Ch Insp Hughes added: “The problems haven’t been caused by licensed premises. That’s why we’ve had to look at other options rather than taking them to task because they are doing a very well.

“Southend is full of lovely areas and we want people to be able to use them without fear of antisocial behaviour.”

The order comes as figure reveal antisocial behaviour is up 135 per cent, with 34 offences in 2019/20 and 80 offences in 20201/21.

Overall crime, including drug offences and violent or sexual offences are up 65 per cent from 75 to 124.

Extra police have been drafted in to deal with the troublemakers but police fear that situation is unsustainable in the long term.

New CCTV and mobile CCTV cameras will be used Old Leigh in the coming months.

A new base for police and community safety teams has been established in Leigh Heritage Centre.

Two new community safety officers are set to be employed along with a community safety caseworker.

The order will cover High Street, Old Leigh and the various access routes to the old town.

Leigh Library Gardens and the public footpath leading down towards Old Leigh, and a section of the Cliffs have also been included.

Councillors will discuss the order at a meeting on Monday.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter