Bexley Council want to introduce a borough-wide protection order offering more powers to police to tackle antisocial behaviour such as the use of NOS cannisters and street drinking.

A Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) is being considered for the entirety of Bexley to tackle known issues in the local community, and as part of the process, the council are asking local residents and businesses for their views.

PSPOs provide police, community officers and council enforcement officers with the ability and powers to control activities that cause persistent anti-social behaviour having or likely to have a harmful affect on the local community's quality of life.

Bexley Council say they hope a borough-wide PSPO will help reduce the public health and environmental impact of the misuse of nitrous oxide canisters as well as the impact of street drinking.

Their statement pointed out that while nitrous oxide canisters do cause unsightly litter, the health effects are far more serious.

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Inhaling nitrous oxide gas can include headaches, nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, collapse and consequent injury.

Taking it can lead to a range of health problems such as burns, a dangerously increased heart rate, swelling on the brain, nerve damage and anaemia, as well as serious psychological problems.

Bexley Cabinet Member for Communities, Cllr Sue Gower MBE said: "As a local authority, we are of course more than aware of the health issues that nitrous oxide canisters cause and the negative effect their use has on any area.

"We also know that persistent street drinking has also been reported as an anti-social behaviour concern in some locations in Bexley.

"Part of the PSPO process includes a public consultation. We are asking those who live, work and visit Bexley to complete a short survey, to establish if there is support for a PSPO and to address any concerns. Please make sure you get in touch and have your say on the proposals.”

The consultation is available online from 6 October and will close on Wednesday 20 October.

If approved the PSPO could be in place by the end of October, and if introduced, the council say anyone who breaches the PSPO for the reason of drugs or alcohol would be offered the support they may need.

Bexley Police have formally requested the PSPO, but before they submitted their request they carried out their own consultation with residents at the end of last year. More than 2250 residents responded, and of those responses, 2184 supported the introduction of a PSPO.