Met Police Target Beggars In London

29 August 2014, 09:56 | Updated: 29 August 2014, 19:08

The Metropolitan Police have been targeting begging and rough-sleepers across London.

Officers spent Friday 29 August 2014 working with the Home Office and local authorities to target hotspots across the capital, including Croydon, Islington and Southwark.

Thirty five people were issued with cease and desist notices. Another person was due to be removed from the UK by the Border Agency, with another due to voluntarily leave the UK for Romania.

Police officers, council wardens and Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers have been working to target those responsible for such behaviour by concentrating on engaging, disrupting and deterring rough sleeping and begging.

The Met Police said "This operation highlights work that is carried out daily by officers and partners who proactively patrol hotspot areas to speak with those who sleep rough and beg from members of the public.

"Whilst good progress has been made, the Met says these issues persist and all partnership agencies are committed to dealing with this matter in a robust and balanced way."

Metropolitan Police Service Commander Alison Newcomb, leading the operation, said: "Operation Encompass has demonstrated the benefits of a multi-agency approach aimed to reduce the number of those sleeping rough and begging, which can lead to associated anti-social behaviour and crime.

"Officers work with immigration partners to utilise legislation launched in January regarding removal from the UK, where the grounds exist. They also make referrals to outreach projects in order to help vulnerable individuals break the cycle they find themselves in when sleeping rough, while taking affirmative action against persistent offenders who break the law or cause intimidation to passing members of public.

"Begging will not be tolerated in the City of Westminster or any other London borough. Wherever possible people begging will be arrested and ASBOs sought where appropriate.

"Our activity is ongoing with our partners who are committed and recognise that it is an issue that does not go away in a single operational action and requires a continued and consistent approach from all agencies and partners."