Street Collections – Police issue reminder regarding Regulations

22 Jun 2017 Denise Copeland    Last updated: 27 Jun 2017

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) is responsible for granting permits for charity street collections and as such, have issued the following guidance to assist charities when conducting street collections.

A charitable organisation must apply for a street collection permit prior to conducting any collection on the street.  ​Charities are provided with a copy of Regulations governing Collections in Street and Public Places when they are granted a permit to carry out a street collection.

Through engagement with the public and a number of charitable bodies, PSNI have become aware of a lack of understanding or confusion around some of the regulations governing street and public place collections.  The following aspects have been highlighted as causing concern from members of the public:

Use of Roundabouts/Roadways for Collections

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. Ultimately this has the potential for fatal consequences.

Collectors are not permitted to collect at roundabouts.

The regulations clearly state that:

No such collection or sale shall be made in any part of the carriageway of any street; nor shall any collection or sale be made on the footway or in any public place to the obstruction or annoyance of any person in such street or public place”.  

Collecting in Buckets

There has been a steady increase in the number of charities that are using open buckets for collecting and this is not permitted. This also partly relates to point 1 above, where collections have taken place on main roads and at roundabouts leading to tailbacks etc. This has resulted in a number of complaints, especially from elderly people, who felt intimidated by collectors shaking buckets at their car window.

The regulations are very clear in this regard:

 “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, and into his box or other receptacle all money received shall be immediately placed. All such boxes or receptacles shall be numbered consecutively. Every collector or vendor shall deliver his boxes or other receptacles with the seals unbroken to one of the persons responsible for the proper application of the money received”.

Submitting Accounts within two months after the date of collection

There is a requirement that within two months after the date of collection the Charity, or whoever has to submit their accounts and other supporting documentation, shall forward these to the Police Station that issued the permit. These include the form showing in detail the amount received and the expenses incurred in connection with such sale and the relevant press cuttings.

PSNI are very keen to work with all those involved in street collections however a failure to comply with the regulations will be taken into account on any applications submitted by these organisations in the future.

If you would like more information on charity collections, please see NICVA's advice note on collections 

by Denise Copeland

Governance and Charity Advice Manager

[email protected]

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