Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) were not without controversy when they came into force a couple of years ago.

Similar to an ASBO, albeit covering a clearly defined geographical area, there were fears that over-zealous use of PSPOs could infringe people's freedoms of movement in urban areas because whereas ASBOs were targeted against individuals, PSPOs proscribed certain activities.

But rather like the ASBO before it once the public outrage settled down PSPOs have worked rather well.

A PSPO came into effect in Bradford a year ago in a bid to reduce anti-social behaviour caused by people drinking alcohol or using so-called legal highs.

It gives police community support officers (PCSOs) and the council’s own anti-social behaviour officers

powers and covers a large part of central Bradford, from Little Germany in the east, the University of Bradford in the west, Forster Square retail park in the north and Hawkshead Estate in the south.

Anyone caught in breach of the order faces an on-the-spot fine of £100. Anyone who won't pay can land themselves in court and a maximum fine of £2,000.

According to a report to be considered by councillors, local authority officers have asked people to surrender alcohol on 446 occasions in the enforcement zone. Just over a quarter of those were in Centenary Square.

Is this using a sledgehammer to crack a nut? We think not.

Anti-social behaviour is a scourge on city centres across the country. Damage caused by indiscriminate booze-fuelled vandalism must be paid for by traders and, more often than not, taxpayers. Bad behaviour drives people away from city centres and results in lost trade for retailers.

The PSPO has clearly given Bradford Council a useful method to help keep our streets clean and safe.

Although PSPOs can cover a broad geographical area they can be used to target very specific groups. Some authorities are examining if they can be used to ban noisy cars from city centres – and fewer boy racers would be a welcome relief in Bradford.

Nationally, it hasn’t all been plain sailing. For instance, we would never endorse Hackney’s attempt to use a PSPO to move on rough sleepers.

Used with care, PSPOs can make an effective contribution to controlling anti-social behaviour, but just like people who think they can drink as much alcohol as they want in city centres, they need to be kept on a tight leash.