Parks Police & Public Space Protection Orders
Posted 30 November 2014 - 10:40 PM
To recap, London Boroughs can form their own parks constabularies, whereby the wording is as follows:
"A local authority may procure officers appointed by them for securing the observance of the provisions of all enactments relating to open spaces under their control or management and of bye-laws and regulations made thereunder to be sworn in as a constable for that purpose".
The confusion about their powers centred on the words "all enactments". Some had a very liberal view and thought that this meant all legislation. However, it is now widely accepted that this now means only enactments that specifically relate to the relevant open space.
Whilst there hasn't been a legal ruling as to what this means in relation to parks police, there are a few definitions of 'enactment' offered by statute, which include:
- Local Government Act 1929 states that unless the context otherwise requires, the expression "enactment" includes any public, general, local or private Act and any rule, regulation, byelaw, order, or award made under any Act.
- Welfare Reform Act 2009 (S. 50) clarifies that the expression "enactment" means any enactment contained in, or in an instrument made under
*an Act of Parliament,
*an Act of the Scottish Parliament, or
*a Measure or Act of the National Assembly for Wales.
The fact that the statutory guidance lists parks as a distinct public place suggests that the government is not only encouraging orders to be made, it expects them. The guidance also suggests that the City of London can apply to the Secretary of State to make orders in relation to open spaces under their control.
In essence, a PSPO could be considered to be an 'instrument' that has been made under an 'enactment'. As such, Parks Police would have powers to enforce the Orders and this could have significant implications on how they could be utilised.
PSPOs are effectively a back door way to make byelaws and circumvent the bureaucratic process of getting them approved.
PSPOs could relate to anti-social behaviour, the consumption of alcohol or the control of dogs. Examples of current consultations include the regulation of hen and stag parties, banning skateboarding and banning the consumption of legal highs in a town centre.
Likewise, the new power to issue Community Protection Notices is afforded to the council and police When an individual or business is served with a written warning in relation to a park could satisfy the LGA 1929 definition, as it could be an 'order' (you must not do X or you commit an offence). As such, the power to enforce those orders would relate to Parks Constables.
Could be interested if they start to be used.
Posted 30 November 2014 - 10:57 PM
I have some training booked on these in the new year, wide ranging powers and I believe can be used by council officers, which would include Parks Constables.
Posted 01 December 2014 - 07:30 AM
A council can also enforce the Orders, which includes being able to issue a FPN for a breach. But a council officers would have no specific power of arrest and associated S.32 arrest powers.
Parks Police would be in a unique position because they would be wearing two hats.
Posted 01 December 2014 - 05:23 PM
Whilst the s.32 is correct not all offences require nicking there and then, summons or returning with police assistance at a later date can sometimes be the best course of action.
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