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Curbing anti-social behaviour in Gateshead

Posted on Monday 20 February 2017

Plans to tackle overly persistent street salespeople and charity collectors are among measures coming into force in Gateshead next week.

Complaints from Gateshead residents about organisations touting for business in the town centre and charity collectors being too persistent, have prompted Gateshead Council to authorise Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) which will be enforced from Wednesday, March 1.

PSPOs give local councils additional powers to deal with people committing anti-social behaviour in public spaces, which has a negative effect on the local community.

And Gateshead Council has authorised the introduction of an order which specifically covers Gateshead Town Centre and organisations and charities which are too persistent in approaching people in the street.

Breaching Public Space Protection Orders will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of up to £100, or prosecution resulting in a fine of up to £1,000 if convicted.

Councillor Linda Green, Cabinet Member for Communities and Volunteering, which covers Community Safety said: “We want people to enjoy coming to the town centre and not be put off by those people who spoil it for the majority.

“It is not currently proposed to take steps against a polite approach from salespeople and charity collectors, but if people are obstructed or harassed in any way, we would encourage them to report the incident to us so we can take action.”

An example of collectors or sales people acting in a challenging way would be if they continued to try to talk to you, or persuade you to stop, even when you had made it clear you were not interested. Obstructing you physically, such as blocking your path, would also be a breach of the order.

The council is working on ways for members of the public to report any breaches of the orders. These may involve immediate reporting methods for smartphones, or forms for residents to submit via the Council website.

Signs are also being erected in the town centre, alerting people to the PSPOs and what they cover, ahead of the enforcement start date of March 1, 2017. Enforcement action may take the form of plain clothed patrols.