Begging no longer an offence
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.