A NEW crackdown on drug taking and anti-social behaviour in and around Wrexham town centre looks set to receive the green light.

It comes after two existing Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) covering the main shopping areas and Rhosddu lapsed last year.

They gave police and council staff the power to fine people £100 for offences such as drinking, drug taking, rough sleeping and littering.

Wrexham Council said the amount of anti-social behaviour in the town had dropped by 50 per cent since 2015, partly thanks to a special taskforce set up to address the use of the psychoactive drug spice.

However, the local authority has received almost 100 complaints from the public about issues such as discarded needles and homeless camps in the last 12 months alone.

It means the ruling independent/Conservative administration is being asked to support the introduction of an improved order covering both areas at a meeting next week.

Tory group leader Hugh Jones, whose portfolio includes public protection, said it was required to act as a deterrent to offenders and had received widespread backing from residents.

He said: “If you take the PSPO away we don’t have an effective means of supporting the visible vulnerable while tackling anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

“The work that we’ve done in Wrexham has been recognised in terms of awards that have been received from the police and crime commissioner.

“Other authorities from across the United Kingdom have come to Wrexham to see the work that we are doing.

“It is an important part of our holistic and comprehensive approach to responding to the issues surrounding the visible vulnerable in the town centre.”

He added: “Well over 90 per cent of people are supporting elements within the PSPO.

“It responds to the concerns that the public have raised.”

A total of 700 people took part in a recent survey on the proposals with the majority showing their support.

Results show 97 per cent backed the introduction of new powers to deter intimidating behaviour, although some raised reservations over plans to fine people for begging.

As a result, the recommendation to enforce against begging has now been removed.

Cllr Jones said despite the fall in crime figures, the authority was still struggling to change some people’s views of Wrexham.

He said: “The reality is somewhat divorced from perception.

“We have to be aware of the perception though because people’s perceptions impact on the willingness and ability for them to come into the town centre of Wrexham.”

Figures released last year also highlighted the low number of fixed penalty notices which were paid under the original PSPOs.

Although statistics showed less than one in 20 of the 183 fines handed out between 2016 and 2019 were successfully collected, Cllr Jones said there was little the council could do to improve the amount.

He added: “The appropriate processes have to be gone through and there’s nothing additional we can do.

“There is a strict legal process about enforcement and fixed penalty notices that applies to us and applies to the court.”

The proposals will be discussed by executive board members at a meeting on Tuesday, January 28.