Plan scrapped to fine Oxford homeless who fail to use accommodation
Plans to fine rough sleepers in Oxford have been scrapped after the city council decided to amend a proposal to tackle anti-social behaviour.
Homeless people who fail to use indoor accommodation offered to them were originally on a list of people a Public Spaces Protection Order would target.
A petition against this idea had been signed by 72,000 people, stating the order would "criminalise" homelessness.
The council said it had concluded there were better ways of tackling the issue.
Oxford City Council is considering plans for an order that would provide new powers to deal with a range of anti-social behaviour including persistent and aggressive begging, sleeping in toilets and graffiti.
Offences can incur a £100 penalty or, if prosecuted through the courts, a £1,000 fine.
Originally a handful of people were on a list of rough sleepers who slept on the streets despite being offered a place to stay.
It prompted a petition set up by Oxford University Student Union group On Your Doorstep who accused the council of "criminalising rough sleeping in the city centre".
The council has now removed rough sleepers from the list.
Council Leader Bob Price said: "We... have concluded that there are more effective ways of tackling this problem; that section is not included in the current draft of the Public Spaces Protection Order.
"Tackling homelessness is and will always remain a top priority for the council - this year alone we will spend almost £1.4m tackling the issue."
Kate Cocker, director of homeless charity Crisis Skylight Oxford, said: "We are very pleased with the decision."