Tough new powers considered to tackle 'aggressive' begging in Sheffield city centre

Tough new powers to crack down on 'aggressive' begging and other anti-social behaviour could be introduced in Sheffield city centre.

Police in Sheffield city centre could be given new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour
Police in Sheffield city centre could be given new powers to tackle anti-social behaviour

Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs) are a relatively new tool brought in three years ago to reduce public nuisance by prohibiting or restricting certain activities within a specified area.

Doncaster Council last month introduced one banning begging and street drinking, among other activities, within the town centre, where those breaching the conditions can now be moved on or fined.

Sheffield Council is considering following suit, though it says this is just one of a variety of measures which could be used to tackle anti-social behaviour and there are no proposals as yet to do so.

Sheffield BID, which supports firms in the city centre, is asking its members how they are being affected by anti-social issues ranging from 'aggressive' begging and littering to public urination and so-called 'chuggers' seeking charity donations.

It says the feedback will be passed onto the council to see whether any of these could be addressed by a PSPO.

In an email to members, the organisation wrote: "Sheffield City Council is currently working on the implementation of a PSPO which will provide both the council and its partners with new powers to address anti-social behaviour in Sheffield city centre.

"Sheffield BID is very clear that begging and a range of other anti-social issues should be included in a PSPO.

"To evidence the views of city centre businesses in achieving this, I would be grateful if you could take a minute to answer a short survey on issues affecting your business (in terms of trade, staff, customers, reputation etc)."

Doncaster Council has said its use of the order is part of a wider plan to support vulnerable people, including those affected by homelessness and drug and alcohol misuse.

South Yorkshire Police recently told how while some beggars in Sheffield city centre were genuinely homeless, others were part of organised gangs preying on people's generosity

Councillor Jayne Dunn, Sheffield Council's cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said: "A PSPO could be a one of a variety of tools used to tackle anti-social behaviour but until the data is shared with us and other partners, no decision on actions can be taken. Any future decision will go through the council’s decision-making process and will include full public consultation."