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Preston police officers to join crackdown on city centre beggars

Posted on - 21st June, 2013 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - News

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Police have declared a crackdown on beggars in the city centre over the summer.

The plan codenamed Operation Decisive will see police officers and PCSOs moving beggars and vagrants on from the streets.

Police say they will arrest persistent beggars and will be targeting the time around when the pubs and clubs close.

Lancashire Police say they have already begun speaking to those they find begging in Preston to try to understand why they are there.

Preston City Centre Inspector, Kevin Evans said: “This operation is taking a strong yet empathetic approach to the issue of begging.

“It’s all about keeping Preston a safe and good place to visit, whilst also understanding those who are genuinely homeless and begging to make a living, and pointing them in the direction of services that can help them and their situation.

“We believe that some of those begging are positioning themselves near to cashpoints and car park pay machines where their actions are intimidating particularly towards elderly and other vulnerable people.

“I would like to reassure the residents and revellers visiting Preston City Centre during the day and for a night out that we are trying to keep begging and vagrancy in the city centre at a low and will move on and where appropriate, arrest those who are found to be begging and causing a nuisance to the public.”

Since the operation started just a month ago, the Preston City Centre Team is already reporting a reduction in the number of beggars and vagrants they have been encountering on the streets.

If you see someone begging whilst out and about or on a night out in Preston City Centre, please tell an officer on patrol or call Police on 101.

What do you think about the level of begging and homelessness in the city centre? Let us know in the comments below

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