Is aggressive begging becoming a problem in our towns?


The issue has been raised a lot on social media recently with some people stating that they now avoid the town centres due to aggressive begging. Torquay town centre in particular has been highlighted.

The police in Torquay had been using dispersal orders, which they claimed were effective (more here) but that was back in September. So what now?

Walk through Torquay town centre and you’ll see a number of homeless people – like many towns across the country. A sign of the times?

It is always worth remembering that not all homeless people are beggars and not all beggars are homeless..

Have you been asked for money or cigarettes, have you encountered aggressive begging and are you avoiding your local town centre because of this?

A post on Spotted Torquay today said:
“Absolutely fuming just been accosted and Intimidated by the homeless opposite Tesco for not giving one of them a cigarette. I tried to say I couldn’t afford too as I am struggling financially myself. Only to be met with aggression and intimidation. I honestly thought the situation was going to get violent. I have to walk past them every day for work, in times of the day when town is quiet and am fearful now of this issue escalating when I am isolated. Why do people feel they’re entitled to not only your money and your possessions but your freedom to walk in your own home town. I’m not a selfish person if I give every single homeless person one of my cigarettes everyday I will be left with none for myself and I’ve had to work for them,”

A number of people responded, here are just a few of the comments:

“Walk through at 5.30-6.00am they won’t be there as they’re just getting out of their warm homes at that time ready to set up for the day.” C.Armstrong.

“The homeless should be encouraged to give something back to society instead of just taking all the time . A broom and a sack to pick up litter or some gardening for pensioners would be a good start.” V Crees.

“Enough is enough – Its time for Torquay to take back their town. Make it clear that Torquay no longer is a soft touch. Stop giving anything to these people. If word got around that Torquay wasn’t ‘giving’ the town centre would become a much nicer and safer place. Businesses would start to thrive again and so the town becomes a destination to visit rather than a place to avoid.” M Williams.

“Why don’t the police get rid of all the beggars off the street during the day, so people can enjoy going shopping without the hassle of being asked for money from 1 end of town to the other. And like I said before why don’t the so called homeless charities instead of giving out sandwiches and making themselves look good, why don’t they if they are that concerned concentrate on getting the genuine homeless places to live like bedsits/rooms or other accommodation, so 1, they have somewhere warm to live and stay and 2, they wouldn’t be out on the streets begging.”M Day.

“I don’t know why people are putting ‘homeless’ & ‘beggars’ in the same bracket. I don’t know if it’s the same two beggars opposite Tesco but a few weeks back there were two there, begging, that live in a house share on Abbey Road then spend their money on scratchcards. I’m not saying that’s what they all do but that’s what these two do.” LS Davis.

“I wish we wouldn’t call them homeless and call them beggars. It puts a negativity on the real homeless.” J Hannaford.

What do you think – is there a problem and if so, what can be done?

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