COVENTRY councillors are set to renew a public space protection order (PSPO) to ‘help improve the quality of life’ in the city centre.
The order was introduced in July 2017 to help reduce begging, manage street trading and busking – following a consultation.
Its aim is to help reduce anti-social behaviour and speed up enforcement activities – only where the behaviour has been persistent, says the council.
At a Cabinet meeting on the 9 June, ruling Labour councillors will consider a council officer’s report outlining the effectiveness of the existing order.
The report recommends that the PSPO is renewed for a further three years from 16 July 2020.
Councillor Abdul Salam Khan, Cabinet Member for Policing and Equalities, said: “The order is an important mechanism because it offers a reassurance to shoppers, workers and city centre visitors that agencies are taking steps to improve life in the city centre.
“The order allows officers to have conversations and provide advice.
“In most cases it means that people can be moved on without any further action needed.
“Following the COVID-19 outbreak the order will provide an important measure in helping maintain the welfare of people.
“Longer term, it will help in the management of the city centre once the effects of the pandemic begin to ease, and in 2021 as we welcome visitors to events to mark the Coventry’s status as city of culture.”
The council adds that in cases where begging occurs, council and police officers can put people in touch with agencies who can help and provide food and shelter, drug support services and other health support.
During the past three years hundreds of breach notices have been processed where people have been found to be persistently begging with only five per cent leading to fixed penalty notices, says the authority.
The council has recently introduced a scheme called Change into Action to provide a safe and secure way for members of the public and businesses to donate and support existing organisations to help to support rough sleepers including young people to not only find accommodation and housing, but also employment, skills, mental health support and drug and alcohol rehabilitation via partners.
Businesses and other organisations who wish to support Change into Action in Coventry – especially during this difficult time can donate by visiting www.changeintoaction.org.uk/
If the public are concerned about the welfare of an individual and suspect they may be sleeping rough, they can visit www.Streetlink.org.uk or call 0300 500 0514. Details are then forwarded to the outreach team, the council says