A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) against car cruising and other vehicular nuisance is being introduced across the whole borough from today (Friday, 30 September 2022).
Colchester Borough Council is introducing the PSPO following consultation with the public and local organisations. The PSPO will apply to the entire district of Colchester and enable police and council officers to enforce against a wide range of antisocial activities associated with car meets for the next three years.
The move follows complaints to both the council and the police from residents and visitors about anti-social behaviour associated with car cruising – where drivers of two or more vehicles (including motorcycles) congregate to race against each other, drive at excessive speed, rev engines, perform stunts, sound horns, play amplified music or cause an obstruction.
More than 175 responses were received during the consultation – the overwhelming majority in favour of the PSPO. Comments included: “Much needed and long overdue to deal with incessant racing, loutish behaviour, excessive noise and constant danger to other road users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians” and “The noise and disruption from cars revving and speeding around at all hours is a real nuisance that effects residents’ quality of life, not to mention the risk involved due to their speed.”
Failure without reasonable excuse to comply with the prohibitions or requirements imposed by the PSPO would qualify as a summary offence under Section 67 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014. Council officers will have the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) including a fine of £100. Failure to pay could result in a court prosecution and up to a £1000 fine.
The PSPO will restrict the following activities:
- engaging in, promoting, encouraging, or assisting in the carrying out of any activity connected to the use of a motor vehicle, inclusive of motorbikes on a public highway, public car park or any other land to which the public has access in the Colchester Borough Council district area (Restricted Area) and which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm, or distress
- congregating or loitering as part of a group surrounding or within one or more stationary vehicles at any time where such activity causes noise, exhaust fumes, harassment, alarm, or distress
- causing or permitting excessive amplified music or vehicular noise, and/or excessive emissions of exhaust fumes where such activity causes harassment, alarm, or distress
- using a skateboard, pedal cycle, which includes a power assisted pedal cycle, or a pedal cycle in combination with a trailer, constructed or adapted for carrying one or more passengers, scooter, skates or any other self-propelled wheeled vehicle in such a manner as to cause damage to property or that causes or is likely to cause intimidation, harassment, alarm, distress, nuisance or annoyance to any person
Cllr Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Housing and Communities, said: “This PSPO sends a clear message that car cruising and the antisocial activities associated with it will not be tolerated, and should help reassure residents that such unreasonable behaviour is being addressed.
“Residents and businesses in known hot spot areas will, I’m sure, be pleased to know that they will begin to receive intensive patrols to deter further antisocial behaviour, and I would also urge people elsewhere in the borough to report any car cruising to the police or the council, to enable wider enforcement to take place.”
Inspector Stuart Austin of Colchester’s Community Policing Team, added: “Despite several police operations and the introduction of new traffic calming measures, we continue to have complaints about people using their cars irresponsibly.
“Local residents have been kept awake at night due to people racing, revving their car engines and performing stunts. This is unacceptable. We will take robust action against anyone breaching the PSPO and fines will be issued.
“This is not about penalising law-abiding car enthusiasts but those who are driving dangerously and behaving anti-socially.”
More information on reporting and enforcing against car cruising and other vehicular nuisance is available at www.colchester.gov.uk/vehicular-nuisance-pspo-2022
Page last reviewed: 30 September 2022