‘Weak evidence’ for cycling order
Royal Borough: Only one fine paid since start of PSPOs
New Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) against dog fouling and cycling on busy shopping streets have so far seen two fines issued since their introduction in August.
The PSPOs were introduced to tackle cycling on Maidenhead High Street, Windsor’s Peascod Street, and dog fouling in both towns at the end of last summer.
However, a Freedom of Information request by the Advertiser found that just two fines had been handed out, with only one paid, by December 20, 2021.
One fine each was handed out to cyclists in High Street and Peascod Street, with only the former, totalling £75, being paid.
No fines had been given for dog fouling in either Windsor or Maidenhead.
Since their introduction, the PSPOs have been controversial particularly after it emerged that fines could not be given to e-scooter riders, while some cyclists have questioned the policy on social media.
Despite the lack of fines, Maidenhead High Street’s ward councillor, Cllr Gurch Singh (Lib Dem, St Mary’s), said he ‘strongly urged’ the administration to think again on the ‘zero tolerance policies against cyclists’.
He added: “As a borough we should be looking at ways of how we can encourage residents to move around safely in a healthy carbon neutral way, freely whether on bike of foot.
“The benefit of the PSPO to residents has been minimal and the evidence base weak.”
RBWM’s community wardens are responsible for enforcing the PSPOs, although they maintain other roles such as visiting schools, day centres, and businesses with their main purpose to ‘reduce crime and disorder and link together all parts of the community’.
Currently, the Royal Borough employs one senior warden and five community wardens, with a sixth appointed to take RBWM to a ‘full complement’ by the start of February.
The total cost of employing community wardens is £452,700.
Councillor David Cannon, cabinet member for public protection, said: “The
PSPOs are not about making money or handing out fines, they’re about having effective tools in place to support community safety, challenge anti-social behaviour as required and respond to community concerns.
“These are still new orders and the start of enforcement followed an introductory period of successful engagement with the public and raising awareness of the new powers.
“The community wardens are already reporting that behaviours have changed and our residents and visitors are more compliant.
“The streets do look cleaner and we are seeing less complaints of cycling in the pedestrianised zones.
“The PSPOs help facilitate conversations with the public giving us an opportunity to educate and raise awareness of these offences, before enforcement, which is beneficial for everyone.
“While our wardens can’t be everywhere all the time they do patrol the areas covered by the PSPOs and actively enforce and raise awareness of the orders as part of their routine work.
“Where concerns are received about specific locations, they will undertake targeted patrols.
“They rely on the public, particularly in relation to dog fouling, to report problem areas. To report any issues with dog fouling, call 01628 683800.”