Investigating the Implementation of Public Spaces Protection Orders

ARCHER, Benjamin (2023). Investigating the Implementation of Public Spaces Protection Orders. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are spatial tools in England and Wales that regulate the anti-social behaviour of those in a designated public space, where punishment for breach can include a £100 fixed-penalty notice or a fine of up to £1,000. This thesis examines the decision-making that underpins the implementation of PSPOs by local authorities, with specific consideration given to their use against vulnerable communities, particularly those experiencing street homelessness. A multiple-case study research design was employed, which sampled nine local authorities in England. In 2020, qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 participants, constituting local authority employees, police officers, and elected officials. Using a combination of governance, preventive justice, street-level bureaucracy, and procedural justice theories as analytical lenses, this thesis makes several empirical contributions to knowledge. The findings reveal that the vague statutory requirements for imposing PSPOs increase the adoption of practices that are perceivably accountable by practitioners, but that these orders punitively target the conduct of three marginalised groups: people experiencing street homelessness, young people, and disadvantaged neighbourhoods. New insights have also been revealed concerning the relationship between local authorities and police officers in this context; exploring obstacles in partnership working through a lack of clear communication channels and divergent opinions on the jurisdiction of PSPOs. Additionally, this research sheds light on the significant personnel resourcing that is required to effectively implement PSPOs, and the impact of austerity-related budget cuts on their enforcement. The findings demonstrate that PSPOs are complicated tools for local authorities to introduce. This thesis recommends that the government strengthen the statutory framework for PSPOs to ensure that practitioners are consistent and proportionate in their application.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Heap, Vicky [0000-0003-4311-1758] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Dickinson, Jill [0000-0003-1471-869X] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Thesis advisor - Hickman, Paul [0000-0002-3062-0003] (Affiliation: Sheffield Hallam University)
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. Vicky Heap / Supervisors: Dr. Jill Dickinson and Prof. Paul Hickman
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
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Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2024 16:18
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 02:01

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