Beg­ging ban ruled out for Porirua City

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

There won’t be a beg­gar ban for Porirua de­spite the pleas of some busi­ness own­ers.

Last month Can­nons Creek shop own­ers com­plained ag­gres­sive beg­ging out­side their busi­nesses was driv­ing cus­tomers away and warned of in­creased vi­o­lence at the shop­ping cen­tre.

In Jan­uary, mayor Mike Tana vowed to con­sider a beg­ging ban to help fed-up re­tail­ers, but on Tues­day he said it wouldn’t work.

‘‘We looked at a change in by­law but it’s not an ap­pro­pri­ate tool.

‘‘The beg­ging is spe­cific around a small group of peo­ple try­ing to get money for drugs and al­co­hol.’’

He said po­lice had told him the ac­tiv­ity had crept up dur­ing the sum­mer hol­i­days while staff were away but polic­ing lev­els were back to nor­mal.

Lines painted around the cash ma­chines to cre­ate a ‘‘safe space’’ and the re­moval of a bench di­rectly op­po­site the ma­chine could be tac­tics used by coun­cil to help, he said.

‘‘This isn’t beg­ging as we know it, Porirua looks af­ter its com­mu­nity when it needs help.’’

Paul Wahid said the beg­gars out­side his shop knew their rights and used them to taunt his staff and cus­tomers.

‘‘They tell me it’s not against the law for them to stand right in my door­way and ask for money,’’ he said.

‘‘Noth­ing has changed, it’s still as bad as it was last month, no­body has done any­thing.

‘‘Coun­cil should do some­thing but it’s like they don’t be­lieve us.’’

Wahid said po­lice pa­trolled the shop­ping cen­tre in the morn­ing but the beg­gars re­turned the mo­ment po­lice dis­ap­peared.

‘‘Last week one per­son threw my own fruit at me when I asked them to stop beg­ging.

‘‘I’d give them food if it would make them stay away but they want money for drugs in­stead.’’

He warned some­one would get hurt if the prob­lem wasn’t ad­dressed by coun­cil and po­lice.

In a writ­ten state­ment, Can­nons Creek Neigh­bour­hood Polic­ing Team sergeant Matiu Grant said local po­lice would work with the coun­cil to ad­dress the beg­ging is­sue.

‘‘An in­crease in pa­trolling the area is one of those op­tions, and we have in­creased our pa­trols in the area and con­tinue to speak with those in­di­vid­u­als who have caused con­cern.’’

PHOTO: VIR­GINIA FAL­LON/FAIRFAX NZ

Paul Wahid says beg­gars are ru­in­ing his Can­nons Creek busi­ness by ha­rass­ing cus­tomers for drug money.

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