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Plan to tackle 'aggressive begging' in Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract

Wakefield city centre
Wakefield city centre

Protection orders could be brought in to the Wakefield district in a move to tackle 'aggressive begging'.

People have reported feeling threatened into giving financial donations to beggars in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford town centres.

Wakefield Council is now consulting on whether to introduce Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) to deal with the issue.

The authority's consultation reads: "We've had reports from residents, businesses and visitors to Wakefield, Castleford and Pontefract centres, that they feel threatened into giving them a financial donation.

!Others try to help by providing them with food, which is subsequently left behind by the beggars – unopened.

"Harassing people for financial or non-financial donations, or using threatening and nuisance behaviour, is known as aggressive begging.

The Council and Police have limited powers to deal with these aggressive beggars, but we are proposing setting up new measures to address the issue."

Protection orders deal with a problem in a particular place that is harmful to the community's quality of life, by controlling how people can use the area. They can be used to prohibit a particular behaviour.

Four PSPOs are already in place in the district.

In Wakefield city centre, Pontefract town centre and Castleford town centre, there are orders to tackle street drinking and urinating and defecating in alleyways, and at Pontefract Park, one is in place to tackle nuisance driving including racing.

Anyone found to be breaking the terms of the PSPOs can be issued with a fixed penalty notice.

To take part in the consultation, visit http://www.wakefield.gov.uk/about-the-council/have-your-say/aggressive-begging