offence as part of the government's drive to tackle crime and
aggressive beggars, which can intimidate the public, leading to
increased fear of crime. Research shows that two-thirds of people
resent being approached by people begging for money and more than
half of the public will not use a cash machine with a beggar next to
It will also allow the police to identify repeat offenders and make
it easier for them to deal with beggars involved in more serious
crime, the offender's details will now be stored on the National
Police Computer when they are arrested.
The minister for policing and crime reduction, Hazel Blears, said:
'Although the chance of being a victim of crime is the lowest it has
been for 20 years, begging increases the fear of crime in our
communities. The public do not want to see beggars on our street,
many of whom can be aggressive and intimidating. Tackling begging is
part of the Government's strategy to cut the anti-social behaviour
which can blight communities and makes some of our public spaces
'Begging is already a crime. Making it a recordable offence will help
the police deal with the crime and anti-social behaviour of many
beggars and tackle persistent offenders.
'We know that more than 85 per cent of beggars have a drugs or
alcohol addiction and are begging to fund their habits. The
government is determined to break the links between drug abuse and
crime, and is investing £447m over three years on an
innovative new programme to target persistent drug-using criminals.
We know that targeting offenders at all points in the criminal
justice system can make a real difference.'
The government has brought in new laws to tackle anti-social
behaviour in the Anti- Social Behaviour Act, passed r ecently by
In October the government launched 'Together', the action plan which,
along with £75m over three years, will tackle the anti-social
behaviour in communities across the country.
The Criminal Justice Interventions Programme is a range of services
designed to target drug-using offenders at every point of the
criminal justice system. By identifying drug users in the CJS we aim
to get them into treatment, off drugs and away from a life of crime.
The programme was introduced to the 30 areas worst affected by drug
related crime from April this year and on 18 November the Prime
Minister announced that an additional 36 areas would receive funding
to support the programme from April 2004.
1. The Vagrancy Act 1824 made begging in a public place an arrestable
offence and upon conviction a person may be sentenced to a maximum
level 3 fine (£1,000).
2. The Anti Social Behaviour White Paper 'Respect and Responsibility'
was published on 12 March 2003 and
the Anti-Social Behaviour Action Plan 'Together Tackling Anti-Social
Behaviour' was published on 14 October 2003.
3. The government is investing £447m over three years to fund
the Criminal Justice Interventions Programme which identifies drug
addicts who are committing crimes to fund their habits at every stage
of the criminal justice system. They are guided into appropriate
treatment and later resettled back into society through a unique
through care and after care programme.
4. The Criminal Justice Act will reform sentences so that the various
types of community order for adults will be replaced by a single
community order giving courts more flexibility to tailor a sentence
to address an offenders rehabilitation needs.