Oxford 'aggressive begging' ban will not be brought back

Image caption,
Campaigners say the council should focus on finding ways to help vulnerable people

A ban on "aggressive begging" and other anti-social behaviour in central Oxford will not be brought back after it lapsed in January.

Oxford City Council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in February 2016.

One person was prosecuted as a result of it for injecting drugs in a public toilet.

A petition against the PSPO was signed by 71,000 people before it was agreed by the council in 2015.

The previous PSPO banned eight activities in the city centre, including drinking alcohol, busking without permission and peddling goods.

Oxford University Student Union group On Your Doorstep said before the PSPO was rolled out that it ran the risk of "criminalising homelessness".

Image caption,
Buskers staged a protest against the proposal in May 2015

The council issued five fines between February 2016 and January, four of them to people for peddling goods.

The PSPO also banned the "inappropriate use" of public toilets.

This resulted in the prosecution of a 45-year-old man who was given a Community Behaviour Order in December after being found injecting drugs in Gloucester Green's public toilets in February 2018.

The council said it would launch a consultation to decide what should be classed as acceptable behaviour in the New Year.

Councillor Mary Clarkson, cabinet member for culture and city centre, said: "Over the coming months we will be consulting residents on the future of every aspect of the city centre, but we are starting with the behaviours that people think are acceptable and unacceptable."

The council has two other PSPOs but they only cover the control of dogs and dog fouling. They were introduced in October 2017.

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