VISITORS to the town centre have been told to watch their behaviour following a string of incidents which have had a detrimental affect on businesses.

As a result, the inSwindon BID street team ambassadors have been out in force reminding people about appropriate behaviour in the town’s shopping areas.

Di Powell, inSwindon’s chief executive, said: “For some time now businesses, shoppers and visitors have experienced incidents of anti-social behaviour, which is having a detrimental effect on our town centre.

“It is a priority to make sure we have a safe and welcoming town centre, where everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.”

The street team ambassadors have been handing out leaflets and offering advice about what kind of behaviour they expect to see in the town centre under the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

PSPOs were introduced as part of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and are primarily aimed at changing and improving behaviour. Anyone caught breaching the order will be issued with a fixed penalty notice if they fail to comply with the authorities. The fixed penalty is set at £100 and, if it is not paid, could result in court fines of up to £1,000.

“By working together to implement the PSPO, we can create a vibrant town centre where visitors value it as a destination of choice,” said Di.

In January, a number of activities which can be punished under the PSPO were recorded by the street team. Four instances of skateboarding were noted along with 20 occasions of errant cycling and 31 of begging.

Since the PSPO was introduced in the town centre by Swindon Borough Council more than two years ago, officers from the council, Wiltshire Police and inSwindon have spoken to and offered advice to thousands of individuals who were contravening the order.

As every individual approached stopped their activity following the advice, no fines have been issued.

The ‘warning and informing’ policy covers the town centre, Regent Circus, the public thoroughfares into the town from the railway station and the area around Spring Gardens.

Councillor Cathy Martyn, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for housing and public safety, said: “The PSPO is a tool to encourage people to change their behaviours.

“I have been really encouraged by the success of the order so far because most people who have been approached for breaching the various conditions have been very apologetic as they did not know about the restrictions and changed their behaviour immediately.

“We want to create a safe and welcoming environment for visitors to the town centre and surrounding areas, so they come back and visit again.”