We need your views. We want to extend our Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which prohibits the possession and misuse of Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) in Lambeth. Our existing PSPO expires on the 16 August 2018.

What is a PSPO?

It is an Order that bans specific behaviours and activities within a defined area. We must show that anything that we ban is having a persistent, unreasonable and detrimental effect on the quality of life of people who live, work and visit that area (locality).

What are Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)?

NPS used to be commonly known as ‘legal highs’. They often contain one or more chemical substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs. Nitrous oxide, or ‘laughing gas’, is a well-known example of an NPS.

The wording of the Order itself uses the term ‘intoxicating substances’ which is defined as ‘substances with the capacity to stimulate or depress the central nervous system’. This does not include alcohol and has exemptions for substances used for ‘medicinal purposes’.

Why do we need a PSPO for this purpose?

On May 26, 2016, the Psychoactive Substances Act became law. The new act does not make it an offence to be in possession of or to misuse NPS. This means Police Officers and Council Officers cannot stop such activity or behaviour without a PSPO.

In 2015 when we first implemented the order, anti-social behaviour and littering linked to people in possession of, and using, NPS was causing a detrimental effect on the local environment and the people within it. Since then, we have analysed police data and evaluated current research and found that:

  • The PSPO has been successful in reducing the volumes of incidents linked to NPS in the last three years;

  • Despite reductions, behaviours and activities causing a detrimental effect in the locality linked to the misuse of NPS still persist, particularly in relation to large events;

  • The negative effect of NPS misuse on mental health and physical systems in the body is better understood and shown to lead to serious medical conditions;

  • The misuse of NPS in the UK is growing and more people are purchasing drugs online than ever before.

In our view, for enforcement against NPS misuse in Lambeth to continue effectively, it is essential that the PSPO is extended.

What behaviour is banned?

The order prohibits the “ingestion, inhalation, injection, smoking, possession or otherwise use of intoxicating substances”.

What will happen if the PSPO is extended?

Nothing, the PSPO already exists. The proposal is to extend the current order for a further three years, this means it would expire in August 2021. There is no proposed change to the wording of the Order.

What will happen if the PSPO is not extended?

The Order will expire at midnight on the 16th August 2018. From that point onwards authorised persons would not be able to seize NPS or fine those in possession or using NPS in Lambeth.

How will it be enforced?

It will be enforced by Council Officers, Police Community Support Officers and Police Officers.

Any person who breaches the PSPO will be required to surrender any intoxicating substances in their possession to an authorised person.

That person would then be liable on summary conviction (court appearance) to a maximum penalty of a level 3 fine or to receive a Fixed Penalty Notice up to £100.

You can find further details on our evidence, reasoning and processes in the below attachments, these include:

  • Our full report recommending this course of action titled ‘PSPO Extension – NPS Recommendation to Consult’. This makes references to our evidence base, reasoning, legalities and decision-making process.

  • Our evidence base. This includes redacted records of; crime, custody, intelligence, stop and search and risk assessments which are linked to NPS misuse through keywords. This document is titled ‘PSPO Extension – Evidence Base – NPS RTC Appendices’.

  • A map of the restricted area.

How to respond

This consultation ended on Sunday 29 July 2018 and is now closed for responses.