The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has issued warnings in relation to street charity collections.
The PSNI say that through engagement with the public and a number of charitable bodies they have become aware of a lack of understanding or confusion around some of the regulations governing street and public place collections.
In particular they have highlighted issues in relation to roundabout/roadway collections and collecting money in buckets. Charities must apply to the PSNI for permission to undertake street collections.
The PSNI report that there has been a significant increase in the number of charities that are collecting on main arterial routes and in particular at roundabouts. In some cases this has created difficulties for emergency services such as ambulance and Northern Ireland Fire Service responding to calls.
Collectors are not permitted to collect at roundabouts, the police say.
Related to roundabout and street collections is the use of buckets for collections which is forbidden under the rules.
The regulations state: “Every collector or vendor shall carry and present to all contributors or purchasers for the reception of money contributions, a box or other receptacle numbered and securely closed and sealed in such a way as to prevent the same being opened or the money extracted without such seal being broken.”
Street collections in Northern Ireland are governed by the Police, Factories etc (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1916 and gives the PSNI the right to make and enforce regulations related to charity collections.
PSNI say that failure to comply with the regulations will be taken into account on any applications for collections submitted by these organisations in the future.
Guidance on street collections is provided by the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA).
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