Dozens of ‘addict’ beggars are arrested
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
There has been a sharp rise in arrests for begging