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12 August 2013, 13:33
The Safer Portsmouth Partnership is encouraging residents to stop giving money to people begging on the city’s streets and support the charities that help them instead.
Partners from the SPP including the Hampshire Constabulary, Portsmouth City Council housing team, community wardens and drug and alcohol services in the city have together identified prolific beggars in the city so that they can target effective care and enforcement options to help those begging get the support they need.
People begging on the city streets are more often than not begging to fund drug and/or alcohol addictions. All sixteen prolific beggars identified in Portsmouth have drug or alcohol issues and need help and support from those around them - not cash for more drugs and alcohol.
Most people who are street begging are either currently housed or have access hostel accommodation, they may be claiming benefits and have other sources of income. Giving cash on the street simply funds their drug and or alcohol addiction and supports a lifestyle, which is neither healthy nor safe.
Warren Amor, Community Warden said: “Working with partner agencies we have identified that, of sixteen people begging only three are genuinely homeless and are being encouraged to seek housing through Central Point and the City Councils Housing Options Service. We also know that five are in receipt of benefits and all sixteen have alcohol and/or drug issues."
Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Simon Hayes said: “I recently spent time on patrol with the police in Portsmouth witnessing the problems associated with begging. Handing beggar’s cash on the street is counter- productive, it is far better to support the city’s multi-agency initiatives that support individuals who beg and provide options in life to eliminate the need to go begging".
Councillor Scott, portfolio holder for Community Safety said: “Portsmouth people are very generous. If you want to support those begging in the city to make a positive change, redirecting your kindness is the best way to help.”
If you want to help you can give donations in the form of clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries, sleeping bags, flasks and food to Central Point, a charity which helps homeless people in the city.