The number of beggars issued with banning orders from Preston city centre has been revealed.Advertisement
Launched in August last year the community protection notices and warnings give Preston City Council the power to take action against those they claim are claiming benefits and have somewhere to live – and yet still ask for money on the city’s streets.
The first stage warning letter, a community protection warning, has been issued 28 times since being introduced.
Issued by the courts, a community protection notice sends the person in question to Preston Magistrates’ Court. Four of these have so far been issued.
Blog Preston asked for the figures under a Freedom of Information request, it shows November was the month with the most action taken – as 13 warnings were given out.
Read more: How homelessness in Preston is tackled could be changing
PCSO Stephen Connolly of Preston Police said: “We continue to work with our partners in addressing the issue of begging in the City Centre. Where possible we look to provide help and support for those who are genuinely homeless and in need of help, whilst taking action against those that choose to exploit others misfortunes and the kindness of the public in an effort to obtain extra money.
“I would like to take this opportunity to advise the public that should they wish to help by donating money not to give directly to beggars; but to give to charities such as the Off The Street Preston fund that provide on-going help and support to those who are genuinely in need.”
The city council has responsibility for issuing the warnings and notices.
A council spokeswoman said: “The Off the Streets scheme was successful in targeting those begging on Preston streets who were, in fact, housed and in receipt of benefits. Our partners at The Foxton Centre continue their brilliant outreach work to help those from the homeless community.
“We recognise this needs to be an ongoing campaign and further targeting of street beggars in the city will continue.”
There’s a dedicated Off The Streets section on the Foxton Centre website, and you can also make a donation – either financial, or otherwise.
What do you think of the warnings? Let us know your views about begging in the city centre