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We will enforce Worcester chuggers crackdown, insists council
PATROLLING council staff will make sure a crackdown on Worcester’s chuggers is properly enforced - with bosses pledging to ensure shoppers get less hassle.
The city council’s licensing committee has unanimously backed a part-ban on the controversial face-to-face street collectors.
During a debate over it at the Guildhall last night, politicians said it was “vital” the new rule changes are enforced properly.
As your Worcester News first revealed on Tuesday, chuggers will be banned on weekends and only allowed in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Only four collectors can be in the whole of Worcester at any one time, and are restricted to just parts of the High Street or the area between Argos and M&S in The Shambles.
Councillor Alan Amos said: “For me the deal isn’t good enough - the ordinary shopper still has to get past potentially four of these people, but I appreciate it’s probably the best we can get.
“For me the issue now is all about enforcement - it’s about how we monitor it to make sure they stick to it.
“We need reports back to this committee on a regular basis. If complaints are made we need to ensure they are dealt with properly.”
During the debate licensing chiefs said a system would be in place where the location and behaviour of chuggers is monitored regularly.
Members of the public are also being encouraged to call the Worcestershire Hub if they step out of line.
All the details will be sent back to the Public Fundraising Regulatory Association (PFRA), which represents the charities sending the chuggers out.
The PFRA can levy fines on charities breaking the deal, and has already insisted it will not shy away from removing rulebreakers.
Niall McMenamin, senior licensing officer, said: “We will have to monitor it.
"There will probably be more complaints coming in as a result of the publicity this generates.”
Councillor Roger Knight, the cabinet member for cleaner and greener, said: “It’s all about compliance - but I believe the outcome we’ve got is a good one.”
Councillor Paul Denham, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “I feel happy we have ended up with an agreement which is one of the best in the country.”
He also said it was largely due to cross-party working, citing efforts from Tory Councillor Jabba Riaz, who first raised the problem of chuggers last year.
The crackdown only applies to face-to-face collectors trying to entice people to sign up via direct debit, who have earned the nickname chuggers as in ‘charity muggers’.
It does not apply to other charity collectors with tins.
* The two parts of the High Street they can operate in are Elgar Statue to Jack Wills, and HMV to WH Smith.