Dog walkers in Southwark have picked up more than 1,000kg of extra dog poo since “controversial” new rules for open spaces were brought in.  

Southwark Council approved new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in 2017 to tackle dog-related anti-social behaviour, which came into effect at the end of March 2018.  

The PSPOs were put in place to clamp down on dog fouling and walkers who were not controlling the pets properly.  

Walkers had to abide by a set of rules or be slapped with a fine of between £100 and £1,000. 

Rules included cleaning up poo, keeping dogs on a lead in certain areas and allowing a maximum of six dogs per walker. Playgrounds in the borough are also off limits. 

The PSPOs were contentious when first proposed, so councillors promised to review how the rules were going.  

Presenting the review to cabinet on Tuesday (January 21), Richard Livingstone, cabinet member for environment, transport and the Climate Emergency, said: “You’ll recall that there was a degree of controversy about this, there were lots of views saying that we were going too far, other views saying that we weren’t going far enough.  

“We thought at the time we came up with sensible compromises and going forward we said we would keep it under review.  

“We’ve now carried out the review and it is saying the controls are working well.” 

Staff recorded the amount of council-collected poo in the 12 months after the rules came into effect and found a reduction of 1,155kg compared to the previous year.  

To date only 26 of the 234 people found breaking the rules were fined, as “education” rather than “enforcement” is the aim, according to the report.  

“A key element of this is to encourage behavioral change of dog walkers, rather than enforcement, to ensure parks and open spaces can be enjoyed by all. 

“The majority of people adhered to the request to follow PSPO requirements and restrictions. Those who did not were issued fixed penalty notices (FPNs),” it read.  

It also emerged that enforcement officers have suffered 43 instances of “abusive and threatening behaviour” so will likely be wearing body-worn cameras in future.  

Feedback from ‘Friends of’ groups was “generally positive”, according to the review, but they suggested clearer signage was needed in some areas.  

Dulwich Park Friends said that six dogs is too many for one walker and they would like to see an even greater reduction.  

It was agreed the rules will continue until a further review in March 2021.