Aggressive beggars 'pushed out' towards eastern part of Wakefield by city centre crackdown

A crackdown on aggressive begging in Wakefield city centre has pushed the problem out into the east of the city, it's been claimed.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 2:56 pm

Local councillor Akef Akbar said nuisance beggars were now moving out to places such as the College Grove area of the city, around half-a-mile away.

A public space protection order (PSPO) banning street drinking has been used to try to address the long-standing problem in the city centre, alongside court action and fines.

The issue was raised at a full council meeting on Wednesday.

A crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the city centre has pushed those responsible out to the suburbs, it's been suggested.

Conservative Coun Akbar, who was elected to the Wakefield East ward in May, said: "In terms of enforcement of rough sleeping and begging, I'm aware the council does a fantastic job in the city centre.

"However, unfortunately, this is pushing these people out into my ward.

"Especially around the College Grove area, Warrengate and places like that."

Coun Akbar asked the council's Cabinet member for communities, Maureen Cummings to "look into" the issue.

Councillor Akef Akbar was elected to serve Wakefield East in May this year.

Coun Cummings responded: "Whatever enforcement we do, it does push those doing the offences further and further out.

"We do tend to follow it, so yes, we are aware of it."

The council introduced PSPOs in Wakefield, Pontefract and Castleford across 2017 and 2018 in a bid to curb booze-fuelled anti-social behaviour in those city and town centres.

The order allows anyone who refuses to hand over alcohol to the police to be fined up to £100 on the spot.

Local Democracy Reporting Service