Published: 00:01, 25 June 2015
Begging and street drinking in Folkestone are being targeted by a Kent council and the police.
New powers as part of the new Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act have allowed Kent Police and Shepway District Council to introduce Kent’s first Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs).
The council says it will enable them to crack down and help tackle street drinking, street sleeping, begging and the use of legal highs in Folkestone and parts of Sandgate.
The new orders are designed to deal with particular behaviour which is disruptive and cause a nuisance for the community.
It means it is an offence for anyone to continue acting in an anti-social manner after receiving a warning from a police officer, police community support officer or council officer and carries a maximum £1,000 fine.
Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee, cabinet member for communities, said: “Alcohol Control Zones allowed us to tackle anti-social drinking.
This new legislation allows us to tackle other behaviour that might spoil people’s enjoyment of their local streets and open spaces.
She added they were not designed to target vulnerable or homeless people who would be given help from the council, partners and charities.
She discouraged people from giving money on the street adding: “It might ease your conscience but it does not sort the problem.
“Instead, please donate to a local charity, like the Rainbow Centre, where your money will be put to use – helping vulnerable people in a supportive and positive way.”
Inspector Angie Chapman from the Shepway Community Safety Unit said: “Our aim will be to work with partners in educating individuals about acceptable behaviour, before taking joint enforcement action if required.”
Chief executive of the Rainbow Centre Jon Wilson added: “Street begging in the town has increased significantly over the last year and many of the individuals who are doing this do, in fact, have homes and benefits in place.
“We do have serious concerns about how these new orders might be introduced. However, we have received reassurances that those who are known to be homeless will not be targeted.”
More by this authorMatt Leclere