Nottingham City Council and Nottinghamshire Police have launched a new scheme intended to tackle begging in Nottingham.
The Alternative Giving Scheme is designed for members of the public to give their money to a charity that will help vulnerable and excluded people, instead of giving it directly to beggars.
It aims to inform the public that many beggars may not actually be homeless, but may be people with alcohol and drug related problems.
Councillor Jon Collins, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “The City Council and the Police through the Community Protection Service have taken action against a number of persistent beggars through the courts.”
Both the Council and Nottinghamshire Police seek to point out that most people who sleep rough don’t actually beg, but most of the people who beg are not actually sleeping on the streets.
Video: Inspector Paul Gummer talks about interacting with beggars.
Begging is considered a criminal offence.
Inspector Paul Gummer, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “We realise it is a fairly contentious issue, there are some people who clearly don’t like it, and there are others who feel that these are people with a genuine need.
Even if the people that are begging are genuinely homeless, there is a distinct chance they will be begging in order to finance either a drug or an alcohol habit.
Inspector Paul Gummer, Nottinghamshire Police.
Ending Alcohol Harm states that the scheme is not all about enforcement. On their website they claim that monthly meetings are held between the different agencies and that they want to make sure that money goes to support those that need it.
Jason Marriot, Street Outreach Service Manager for Framework noted: “The desire to help somebody in need is of course a commendable one, but it is not always the best way to help.”
For anyone wishing to help they can call the Street Outreach Team on 0800 0665356.