Tough new rules to tackle antisocial behaviour in Bolton town centre will be enforced by a team of trained officers.
Uniformed Town Centre Enforcement Officers will work alongside Greater Manchester Police and other council staff to enforce the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).
The PSPO, which came into effect last month, grants the council additional powers to clamp down on inconsiderate and unsafe behaviour.
The new team will now be on patrol throughout the town centre, making people aware of the rules and enforcing them when necessary.
The order bans street drinking, open drug use, graffiti and aggressive begging.
As well as anti-social behaviour, the PSPO also prohibits cycling in pedestrianised areas and unauthorised street trading.
The PSPO is designed to make Bolton town centre a safer and more pleasant place for everyone.
Bolton Council’s Executive Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, Cllr Nick Peel, said:
“In the first instance, we will engage with anyone acting irresponsibly to make them aware of the impact their behaviour has on others and to educate them about the PSPO.
“But we will back this up with strict enforcement and real consequences for those who deliberately ignore the rules.
“The PSPO is designed to make Bolton town centre a safer and more pleasant place for everyone.
“Be in no doubt, persistent offenders will be held to account for their actions.”
Chief Inspector Mike Russell from GMP’s Bolton district said:
“Working alongside our partners the introduction of the PSPO in Bolton Town Centre seeks to primarily engage, support and educate individuals, addressing their needs and getting them the best support by referring them to the most appropriate service.
“There will however be occasions when partner and police enforcement is deemed necessary to reduce anti-social behaviour and to make the town centre a safer place for everyone.”
During a consultation period, plans to set up a PSPO received the backing of hundreds of residents and local businesses.
Michael White, manager of the HSBC UK branch in Victoria Square said:
“It only takes one or two people acting in an anti-social way to significantly affect the atmosphere and workings of the town centre for the businesses and shoppers who use it.
“I am sure the introduction of the PSPO and Town Centre Enforcement Officers will have a positive impact and make the town centre a much more pleasant place to bank, shop and socialise.
“We welcome the opportunity to work in partnership with the local police, the council, businesses and charities to make visiting Bolton town centre a more enjoyable experience for everyone.”
The order covers the town centre and surrounding areas including the Market Place Shopping Centre, the retail park on Trinity Street, and up to Deane Road.
A PSPO lasts for three years and failure to comply with an order can result in a fixed penalty notice of up to £100 or prosecution.