The leader of Newport City Council’s Conservative group has called for a blanket ban on begging in the city to be put to the public.
Cllr Matthew Evans put forward the suggestion in an overview and scrutiny committee meeting held on Friday July 30.
Currently, Newport City Council have a ban on aggressive begging and begging within ten metres of a cashpoint.
Cllr Evans described it as a “big issue” and said: “It discourages people from going into the city centre.”
Sergeant Chris Butt of Gwent Police agreed with Cllr Evans that begging should be banned.
When handling the issue of begging, Sergeant Butt said the police are in a difficult position due to the conflicting views on the matter.
Sgt Butt said the police were “damned if we do and damned if we don’t”.
Stow Hill councillor Miqdad Al-Nuaimi, who represents Labour, said he was “unhappy” with the inclusion of a question focusing on a blanket begging ban in the public consultation.
The public consultation period is due to last for four weeks during August, where local businesses and residents will be able to express their opinions on begging, e-scooter and other antisocial behaviours.
The council dropped the proposal of an outright ban on begging and rough sleeping in 2015 after opposition from civil liberties groups and charities.
The proposal to ban begging follows the council’s agreement to renew the city centre’s Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO), which expires on August 23.
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PSPOs are created to prevent antisocial behaviour in public spaces.
“PSPOs form a foundation for other work, they have a central role in dealing with anti-social behaviour,” said Rhys Thomas, Acting Regulatory Services Manager.
The maximum length of a PSPO is three years, which is why a renewal of Newport city centre’s PSPO was agreed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.