Police and council pledge new powers will be used to tackle anti-social behaviour including irresponsible dog ownership after 'horrific' attacks on wildlife at Stanley Park

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Tougher powers to tackle anti-social behaviour in parks – including to protect wildlife following “horrific” dog attacks in Stanley Park – have been agreed by councillors.

It is hoped the new controls, set out in a new public space protection order (PSPO) for open spaces and cemeteries in Blackpool, will be in place early next year.

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Stanley Park LakeStanley Park Lake
Stanley Park Lake

One of the key components is tougher enforcement to ensure dog walkers keep their pets on a lead while walking next to council water features including Stanley Park Lake, in Devonshire Road Rock Gardens, and the lake at Kincraig Nature Reserve in North Shore.

Powers also cover illegal camping, vandalism and use of unauthorised vehicles, with the use of e-bikes and scooters cited as a particular nuisance.

Police chiefs, who attended the scrutiny meeting, said the additional powers would act as a preventative measure but also help them build up a case for prosecution if offenders are persistent.

Superintendent Chris Hardy, of Blackpool Police, said they would be another tool for officers to use to fight anti-social behaviour alongside existing powers such as the use of dispersal orders.

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He added: “This is about people being advised and being aware that in this park my dog needs to be on a lead, and I need to be a responsible dog owner.”

He also warned the police would work closely with the council, and take action which could lead to prosecution if evidence was found of dangerous dogs in public areas.

Lisa Arnold, assistant director of community and environmental services at the council, said extensive CCTV in Stanley Park could also be used to identify owners of dangerous dogs so information could be passed onto the police.

Results from a 10-week consultation into the new controls found nearly 83 per cent of respondents agreed with dogs having to be on leads near council-owned water features.

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It follows anger in the community after two fatal attacks on swans on Stanley Park Lake, believed to have been by dogs not on leads.

Coun Sarah Smith said: “There have been horrific situations with wildlife attacked.

“The public don’t want to see people getting away with bad behaviour when it has these horrible consequences.”