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Monday, 21 September 2020

‘Charity muggers’ in Nottingham will be ‘limited’ says council boss

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More restrictions will be placed on charity collectors – known as charity muggers or ‘chuggers’ – who collect money on the street.

There will also be new limits on who can distribute flyers in Nottingham, according to the leader of the city council, Jon Collins.

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Full details of what the changes will mean were expected to be released today, but will now be released in December.

There will also be three new bans: on defecating and urinating on the city streets; on blocking entrances and exits; and on using psychoactive substances.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The PSPO will give Community Protection Officers the ability to manage the city centre in a way that makes it a better place that we can all enjoy[/perfectpullquote]

A blog post written by Councillor Collins, who represents the St Ann’s ward for Labour, said the public space protection order (PSPO) – the law used to make the changes – will help make the city ‘welcoming’.

He said: “Public Space Protection Orders give councils the ability to better manage their public spaces, so that we can promote the kind of city centre we want to see.

“The PSPO is intended to promote a vibrant, welcoming city centre by facilitating things like busking in appropriate locations and streamlining the offer provided by those giving food to those in need, for example by ensuring there is an offer available across the week, rather than several on the same day.

“If you think about the Victoria Centre, security guards are able to manage the centre to ensure that visitors get the best possible experience without disturbance.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Other activities are restricted so as to ensure that they can be managed for the good of the public[/perfectpullquote]

“The PSPO will give Community Protection Officers the ability to manage the city centre in a way that makes it a better place that we can all enjoy.

“The PSPO is not about banning things. In fact, there are only three bans included, and they are for things I’m sure we can agree on- urinating and defecating in public, blocking entrances and exits and using psychoactive substances.

“Other activities are restricted so as to ensure that they can be managed for the good of the public as well as in the best interests of anyone undertaking those activities.

“It also strengthens powers to deal with acts of public indecency helping make our city centre a better destination for businesses, local residents and visitors.

“The PSPO provides particular pitches for Big Issue sellers, will limit ‘chuggers’ and people giving out flyers without agreement from the council to do so and will promote respectful street entertainment that makes our city centre more vibrant.”

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]The proposals around chuggers always aimed to strike the right balance between charitable giving and people being able to enjoy the city centre uninterrupted[/perfectpullquote]

Councillor Collins went on to say responses to the consultation on the PSPO had been “overwhelmingly positive” and  submissions had been received from Nottinghamshire Police, Big Issue, Nottingham Business Improvement District, local churches, the Big Issues, Musicians Union, Equity and local residents.

A city council spokesman said: “We are still working on changes to the PSPO, which will be considered by councillors at our Executive Board meeting next month.

“The proposals around chuggers always aimed to strike the right balance between charitable giving and people being able to enjoy the city centre uninterrupted, and so we intend to limit their number and locations.

“We have listened to representation around rough sleepers potentially unwittingly creating obstructions to fire exits or for street cleaning, and in those cases, no action will be taken unless an offer of support has been made.

“In all cases, CPOs will ask the person to move, explain the reason why and the consequences of failing to do so, before taking any further action.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]We… are looking at introducing a small non busking zone[/perfectpullquote]

“The order will make clear there is no intention to penalise individual acts of kindness between one person and another such as giving a homeless person a cup of coffee.

“We are moving away from the requirement for buskers only to operate from authorised pitches, but are looking at introducing a small non busking zone either side of the Council House, mainly to protect the integrity of the Coroners’ court.

“Officers will be able to ask buskers to stop performing if they feel they are causing an unreasonable disturbance anywhere in the city.”

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