Aggresive beggars should be fined, says Councillor John Blundell

Date published: 14 December 2017

Councillor John Blundell's assertion that 'aggressive beggars  should be fined' was the subject of debate at the full council meeting on Wednesday.

Councillor Blundell penned a recent article in which he argued that 'the authorities should endeavour to make it unprofitable for aggressive beggars to operate'.

He cited the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) as a means of doing so.

Earlier this year, Rochdale Council introduced a Public Space Protection Order in Rochdale town centre in an attempt to curb anti-social behaviour, including aggresive begging.

Speaking in the Council chamber, Councillor Blundell explained: "The PSPO was introduced because businesses wanted it."

He added: "Around 20% of aggressive beggars have been found to not actually be homeless, and charities like Crisis say 'it gives them a bad name in the eyes of the public'."

Conservative leader, Councillor Ashley Dearnley was supportive, he said: "It is one of the most serious issues in the town centre. I have always supported charities and those who are genuinely homeless, and the town centres' actions and endeavours to remove aggressive beggars."

Lib Dem councillor Irene Davidson detailed an account of aggressive begging in Rochdale centre which she had personally witnessed.

Labour councillor Neil Emmott added that many instances of begging is actually modern day slavery by people trafficked for organised begging.

The imposition of the PSPO was opposed by Liberty which wrote urging Rochdale Borough Council to abandon it.

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