Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are there to make sure public places can be enjoyed by everyone and kept free from anti-social behaviour.

They deal with a particular nuisance or problem that is detrimental to the local community's quality of life, in a specific public area. 

A PSPO can cover several activities such as anti-social drinking and dog fouling.

PSPOs last for 3 years and can only be put in place:

  • if there is evidence that it's needed
  • with the agreement of councillors
  • after public consultation - the order must be published in writing and reasonable signage must be put up in the area

New Public Spaces Protection Orders 2022

Dorset councillors have approved 8 new Public Spaces Protection Orders for 2022. 

These orders were made on 19 May 2022 and replaced the existing Orders for West Dorset and Weymouth and Portland. They came into force on 1 July 2022 and will expire on 30 June 2025.

They will cover anti-social behaviour in Bridport, Dorchester, Lyme Regis, Portland, West Bay & Weymouth as well as new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour related to unauthorised camping on beaches and lighting of open fires in forest areas in Ringwood and Wareham.

Under the provisions of s.66 of the Act an interested person may apply to the High Court within 6 weeks from the date that the PSPO is made to question its validity on the grounds that:

(a) that the local authority did not have the power to make the order or variation, or to include particular prohibitions or requirements imposed by the order (or by the order as varied);

(b) that a requirement under Chapter 2 of the Anti-social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 was not complied with in relation to the order.

An ‘interested person’ is defined by section 66(1) of the Act as being an individual who lives in the restricted area or who regularly works in or visits that area.


When we can issue PSPOs

An anti-social behaviour related PSPO can be issued for any nuisance or anti-social behaviour that impacts negatively on a community.

The PSPO targets persistent anti-social behaviour that has a detrimental impact on others including:

  • possession, supply or use of intoxicating substances
  • the anti-social drinking of alcohol
  • behaviour likely to cause nuisance, harassment, alarm or distress to others

How we approach anti-social behaviour

Our approach towards people committing anti-social behaviour and breaking the PSPO is to:

  • work positively with them
  • give advice and encourage them to access relevant help and support services
  • work closely with our partner agencies and voluntary groups to get them support

If advice and support don't work and a person’s anti-social behaviour continues, we give a verbal warning. Issuing a fine is our last resort, where all other measures have not worked.


Breaking a PSPO is a criminal offence. You can be fined a £100 fixed penalty notice on the spot.

If you pay the fixed penalty notice, the offence is discharged and no further action is taken.

If the fixed penalty notice is not paid, you may be liable on summary conviction in a Magistrates Court to a fine not exceeding £1,000.

Controlled drinking zones

An authorised person can ask you to stop drinking or confiscate your alcohol in a controlled drinking zone if they think anti-social behaviour is likely to take place. It is a criminal offence if you do not comply. 

Challenging a PSPO

If you want to challenge whether a PSPO is valid, you must apply to the High Court within 6 weeks of the date the PSPO is made or varied. You must live in, work in or regularly visit the PSPO area to be able to apply.

An application to challenge a PSPO can only be made on two grounds:

  1. That the local authority did not have the power to make or vary the PSPO or to include particular requirements or prohibitions contained in it.
  2. The PSPO requirements set out in Chapter 2 of Part 4 of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 were not complied with in relation to the PSPO or its variation.

If the High Court believes the local authority did not have the power to make or vary the PSPO and the interests of the applicant have been substantially prejudiced, it can suspend or stop the PSPO. 

Contact us

Community Safety Team – Dorset Council

Name: Community Safety Team Leader
Tel: 01305 762439
Full contact details