28 beg­gars fined un­der strict city cen­tre rules

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE -

IT has been a year since strict rules were in­tro­duced to crack down on char­ity chug­gers, beg­gars, buskers, skate­board­ers and cy­clists in the city cen­tre.

A Pub­lic Spa­ces Pro­tec­tion Or­der (PSPO) was given the go-ahead by coun­cil chiefs last March in an at­tempt to stop an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour.

And any­one caught break­ing the rules faced the threat of a £100 on-thes­pot fine rather than be­ing taken to court.

So, 12 months on, how has the PSPO worked out?

The fines are is­sued by Coven­try City Coun­cil’s neigh­bour­hood of­fi­cers and since the PSPO came into force, a to­tal of 29 fixed penalty no­tices have been handed out.

All but one of those was for beg­ging, with the other handed to a busker.

Un­der the PSPO, beg­ging was pro­hib­ited and buskers have to fol­low a code of con­duct.

A Coven­try City Coun­cil spokesman said: “Since in­tro­duc­ing the pub­lic space pro­tec­tion or­der we have is­sued 29 fixed penalty no­tices - 28 for beg­ging and one for busk­ing.

“Of these, eight peo­ple have been taken to court for breaches of the or­der.

“The vast ma­jor­ity of Coven­try peo­ple sup­ported the in­tro­duc­tion of the pub­lic space pro­tec­tion or­der and no­tices are only given when peo­ple refuse of­fers of help and are per­sis­tently beg­ging in the city.

“As a coun­cil we are com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing the well­be­ing of our most vul­ner­a­ble cit­i­zens so we can of­fer the right as­sis­tance.”

A num­ber of those taken to court for breach­ing the PSPO were fined £220 and or­dered to pay £284 court costs and a £30 vic­tim sur­charge af­ter ap­pear­ing at Coven­try Mag­is­trates’ Court.

Coven­try City Coun­cil’s cab­i­net voted through the new pow­ers fol­low­ing a se­ries of com­plaints about an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour in the city cen­tre.

The PSPO also meant that char­ity chug­gers could no longer ap­proach peo­ple in some ar­eas in the city cen­tre, with col­lec­tions lim­ited to Trin­ity Street, The Burges and Iron­mon­ger Row for those who gained the coun­cil’s per­mis­sion first.

It was also stated that any­one skate­board­ing or cy­cling must do so in a ‘care­ful and con­sid­er­ate man­ner,’ and must dis­mount if re­quested to do so by an en­forc­ing of­fi­cer.

The PSPO cov­ers any area within the ring road, in­clud­ing Fri­ar­gate and the rail­way sta­tion, and the £100 fixed penalty no­tices are re­duced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

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