Clampdown on aggressive begging launched

Published Monday, 4th November 2019

Residents of Hartlepool are being urged to support an initiative to deter aggressive begging in the town - and by doing so help those involved to get the assistance they need.

The Hartlepool Community Safety Team - working under the umbrella of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership - has launched a new initiative, Operation Grantham, in response to community concerns about aggressive begging in and around the town centre.

Police Community Support Officers from Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team believe that some of the begging is organised, with some beggars making up to £50 in a single day.

 The Hartlepool Community Safety Team is proposing to use legal powers to try to curb aggressive begging, but says it also needs the on-going support of members of the public. It is suggesting that people make donations to charities, including Hartlepool Foodbank, instead of giving to beggars.

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Councillor Shane Moore, Chair of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership and Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “People who beg often have addiction issues which are being fed by the income from this activity, so we would urge people to help us identify these individuals so we can offer genuine assistance through recovery. Alternatively, your donation would be better served by giving to charity.

“Members of the public also tell us that they often feel intimidated and threatened by beggars and their presence can deter them from visiting certain parts of the town. Where this includes premises such as pubs, shops and supermarkets, it can have a detrimental effect on the local economy.”

National pub chain Wetherspoon has pledged its support for Operation Grantham, saying that begging outside its Lloyds No1 bar The Ward Jackson in Church Square is having an adverse impact on its business. Other companies have reported similar concerns.

A Wetherspoon spokesman said: “It is important that all businesses in the town work closely with the Hartlepool Community Safety Team to ensure that people can come to the town to shop and socialise in a safe environment. We support this initiative.”

Anyone wishing to raise concerns about aggressive begging can call Cleveland Police on 101 or speak directly to members of their neighbourhood policing team.