Groups of people begging in Bournemouth town centre are causing concerns amongst local residents and the police.
Dorset Police say they are increasing patrols and conducting plain clothes operations, working closely with partners Crime Reduction Initiative, to crack down on illegal begging. This will be priority in the new year.
The Bournemouth Central Safer Neighbourhood team reported online: “We have also used powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 to disperse offenders. We have issued over 100 in the last 6 months.”
Locals are getting more agitated by the begging as the homeless are forming groups, with the protection of dogs.
Charity worker Kwame Dublin, 33, says: “I believe over the last ten years we have had a massive inflation of people becoming homeless. I do feel some of the homeless people in Bournemouth are intimidating and they do roll into gangs. A lot of them are coming up to people in threes or fours with dogs, asking for money.”
Alex Ricketts, a Big Issue vendor in Bournemouth, says he does not agree with begging but believes those on the streets should work for their money by busking or entertaining. He said: “The Big Issue price has gone up to £3 this year which has made earning money harder, but this should not be an excuse to resort to begging.”
As the police are making it their priority to tackle homeless issues in the new year, locals express their views on the current state of Bournemouth.
Opinions on illegal begging vary among local residents of Bournemouth, both conflicting and agreeing with those who are homeless.