Fines show “lack of care” for homeless, says charity

Poole council has decided to go ahead with controversial plans to fine people for anti-social behaviour.

The scheme was meant to start last month but was dropped after concerns that it would have the largest effect on vulnerable people, such as rough sleepers.

Routes to roots, a charity in Poole says that the scheme “shows complete lack of care or compassion for the growing number of people, many with a local connection to Poole, who are having to sleep on our streets or in our car parks.” They go along to say: “this measure does nothing to help these most vulnerable people find a solution to help meet their needs, it merely puts them at risk of being criminalised for being poor.”

Councillor Sandra Moore is disappointed that the scheme will go forward and hopes it won’t be used to target homeless people. “The argument was… that they’re only going to tackle anti-social behaviour, they aren’t going to cause a problem for homeless people… I’m not convinced”, she says.

Poole Borough Council said: “The PSPO will not be used to target any specific group such as those people sleeping rough. The council proactively works with individuals to encourage them to use the full range of support available from the council and local charities.”

However, people who drink alcohol in public, begs for money or food and leaves unattended baggage will be fined.

Southampton have tried similar scheme, but ditched it after only receiving one payment out of 33 fines.

The PSPO will be implemented from 16th of April for a period of three years but will be reviewed by a scrutiny committee in six months time.

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