THE city council has said people will be asked about controversial powers that opponents have said could 'criminalise' rough sleepers later this year – but it remains unclear when.

In March, the authority said it would ask residents for their views on whether it should reintroduce a Public Spaces Production Order (PSPO).

It said it hoped to look at that again in the autumn – but yesterday it would only confirm that a consultation should take place some time this year.

The previous PSPO outlawed eight activities in the city centre, including 'aggressive begging', using public toilets 'inappropriately' and drinking alcohol.

It was in place from Banbury and Woodstock Roads to St Aldates.

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That was first introduced in February 2016 and expired at the end of January.

Opponents said they were worried about the impact PSPOs have and the risk that vulnerable people could be 'demonised'.

Others said they felt that there was no demand for the review or the orders since the council has done without its own PSPO for seven months.

As part of the city council's last PSPO, just one man was prosecuted after he was found by a council officer having injected drugs in Gloucester Green's public toilets.

Another five fines were handed out, four of them to people who were found to be peddling goods.