THE controversial use of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to restrict begging in Poole will be reviewed.

BCP Council cabinet member for communities, Cllr Lewis Allison said the power would be looked at as part of a conurbation-wide approach to tackling anti-social behaviour.

Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting of the full council, he said work was underway to roll-out a scheme already in place in Bournemouth which could replace its use.

The Poole town centre and Holes Bay PSPO was introduced by Poole council in April 2018, bringing in new rules targeting anti-social behaviour.

Since then, three fixed penalty notices have been issues by the council, with one resulting in prosecution.

However, concerns have been raised that the new measures unfairly hit rough sleepers due to the inclusion of clauses restricting begging, leaving bags in the street and blocking public spaces.

The Home Office has issued guidance to prevent public bodies from using the power to target any one particular group of people.

Cllr Allison said this was not being done in Poole but that the council would be reviewing the use of the power in the coming months.

He said work was underway to introduce a Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) to Poole, following a similar project in Bournemouth town centre and Boscombe.

CSAS provides council-employed officers with police powers to reduce and prevent issues of anti-social behaviour and minor crimes.

Speaking on Tuesday, Cllr Allison said: “It is clear that the approaches being applied in our town centres are modelled around the need to ensure and prioritise support for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

“However, we must ensure that we develop a balanced approach which is fit for purpose for the whole of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

“As a result, we will be reviewing the approach to street-based anti-social behaviour three months after the implementation of CSAS in Poole.”

The council has applied to Dorset Police to roll-out the scheme to Poole and Cllr Allison said he expected that the new service could be in place in September.

He said he would report to a meeting of the cabinet in early 2020 with recommendations for a “single approach” to dealing with anti-social behaviour.