Wakefield Council’s senior councillors will be considering a report which recommends that a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), to address aggressive begging in Wakefield city centre and Castleford and Pontefract town centres, is not the most effective way to tackle the issue.
Following a public consultation, that has taken into account the views of local residents, businesses and partner organisations, the report has concluded that a PSPO would not be appropriate in these circumstances.
Evidence from the Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner indicated that PSPO’s would not address the behaviour seen in the centres of Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford. Their view was that it was much wider than aggressive begging and the majority of the problems related to passive begging and street drinking.
The report states that the Police and the Council have a number of enforcement options available to them, including offering support to individuals that may include assistance with addiction, health, housing or other issues faced by the individual. If the person says no there is an incremental scale of enforcement, starting with a warning and escalating to arrest and possible conviction of the most persistent offenders.
Cllr Peter Box CBE, Leader of Wakefield Council, said: “We want people to go about their daily life without being threatened or feeling intimidated.
“We have taken on board the experiences of other local councils that PSPO’s are not the most effective way forward.
“A campaign to raise public awareness, alternative-giving schemes, along with the Council’s Homelessness team is ensuring the correct intervention and support is available.
“We will continue to use PSPO’s to tackle other forms of anti-social behaviour in the city, Pontefract and Castleford town centres, as they have proven to be successful.”