Dozens of ‘ad­dict’ beg­gars are ar­rested

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PO­LICE have ar­rested 84 peo­ple for beg­ging over the last few months – and say most had ‘known ad­dic­tions’ to al­co­hol or drugs.

There has been a sig­nif­i­cant rise in ar­rests for beg­ging in Manch­ester dur­ing the sec­ond half of the year. And po­lice say the pub­lic of­ten claim they are ‘not do­ing enough’ to tackle the prob­lem.

Of­fi­cers con­firmed of­fi­cial sta­tis­tics about beg­ging af­ter they were crit­i­cised for post­ing de­tails of three ar­rests on so­cial me­dia.

Com­ments made by of­fi­cers from Greater Manch­ester Po­lice’s city cen­tre divi­sion stated that one beg­gar had com­muted from Rochdale to the Christ­mas Mar­kets to earn ‘up to £50 a hour’. A fol­lowup mes­sage stated that ‘99 per cent’ ar­rested are ad­dicted to drugs or al­co­hol.

GMP has now con­firmed that of the 84 peo­ple ar­rested for beg­ging in the city cen­tre since the be­gin­ning of Au­gust, 95pc had ad­dic­tions. Eighty of those ar­rested had ‘known ad­dic­tions’ to either Class A drugs, Spice, al­co­hol and in one case cannabis, they say. Three beg­gars were ar­rested in the city cen­tre, in­clud­ing one who had a sign stat­ing: ‘it’s not for booze or drugs’ who later ●● tested pos­i­tive for crack co­caine.

There has been a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple ar­rested for beg­ging un­der the Va­grancy Act in the sec­ond half of 2018.

A Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quest re­vealed that just 10 peo­ple were ar­rested for beg­ging of­fences in Manch­ester un­der the Va­grancy Act in the first four months of the year. In 2017, just 28 peo­ple were ar­rested for beg­ging of­fences dur­ing the en­tire year.

There were nine in 2016 and 15 in 2015.

Po­lice are work­ing to crack down on ag­gres­sive beg­ging in Greater Manch­ester, par­tic­u­larly across the city cen­tre.

They have made a clear dis­tinc­tion be­tween those in gen­uine need of help and those en­gag­ing in crim­i­nal be­hav­iour.

A GMP spokesman said: “Our first re­sponse will al­ways be one of en­gage­ment and sup­port, and we’re com­mit­ted to work­ing with our part­ners to get peo­ple the help that they

need.”

There has been a sharp rise in ar­rests for beg­ging

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