Beg­ging no longer an of­fence

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - AMINA MCCAULEY

BEG­GING will no longer be a crim­i­nal of­fence, with amend­ments to be made to ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion.

The State Gov­ern­ment will to­day make changes to the Po­lice Of­fences Act 1935 that will re­move the of­fence of beg­ging.

The leg­is­la­tion will still pro­vide po­lice with the power to move beg­gars on if there is cause for com­mu­nity con­cern.

Min­is­ter for Po­lice, Fire and Emer­gency Man­age­ment, Mark Shel­ton, said crim­i­nal­is­ing beg­ging was not the right way to deal with the is­sue.

“Beg­ging of­ten stems from home­less­ness, chronic poverty and dis­ad­van­tage,” he said. “In these sit­u­a­tions, it is usu­ally a last re­sort to meet im­me­di­ate needs and the crim­i­nal law is not the ap­pro­pri­ate re­sponse.”

The amend­ments to the Act will still en­able po­lice to direct a per­son to leave a public place for at least four hours if a po­lice of­fi­cer be­lieves the per­son has been be­hav­ing prob­lem­at­i­cally.

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