May 14, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

SEXUAL exploitation won’t be targeted under a range of new measures being considered by the city council in the Pill area, but aggressive begging will.

Earlier this year Newport council drew up a draft public spaces protection order (PSPO) for Pill after a previous one expired in July.

PSPOs are aimed at preventing anti-social behaviour and can be enforced by police and council officers, with breaches of the order constituting a criminal offence, resulting in fines of up to £1,000.

In the new order, which will be determined by the council in June, new powers to tackle sexual exploitation, aggressive begging, spitting, littering, unsafe use of scooters and bikes, and defecation and urinating in public.

However, since the proposal has gone to public consultation, Gwent Police confirmed that the sexual exploitation element has been removed.

Speaking in a council meeting, Sergeant Mervyn Priest from the  Newport West neighbourhood team said:

“By asking it to be removed isn’t trying to suggest that it’s not happening, it is most certainly happening.

“A lot of work has been completed and we continue to complete in relation to the safeguarding of sexually exploited adults in the area and proactively dealing with the offenders, which tend to be male persons who attend the area.”

The representative said that it is a “serious offence” and “to then give the person a ticket went against the grain of how we felt we were dealing with the exploited adults and we didn’t think it was appropriate”.

A council report says that since August 31 last year, 35 people have been arrested for soliciting in the Pill ward, with 28 of those charged.

A further six arrests were made in this time relating to street sexually exploited adults, which were non-prostitution offences, the report says.

But the police say they are still continuing on with work.

The order could also ban begging which is “aggressive or intimidating or is likely to cause someone to feel harassed, alarmed or distressed”.

It follows a similar ban on aggressive begging introduced near cashpoints in Newport city centre.

New powers could also see cyclists, or users of scooters, E-scooters, E-bikes, skateboards and hoverboards, made to dismount if requested by an officer.

Local ward member Cllr Tracey Holyoake said:

“Pill has always been a place where we have amazing residents there and they have become very tolerant of what they’re seeing.”

She said they “shouldn’t have to live like this”.

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