South Wales police clamp down on street begging

Police in South Wales will not tolerate any beggars on the streets.

South Wales police clamp down on street begging

Police in South Wales will not tolerate any beggars on the streets.

Operation Luscombe is a program that has been in operation in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales since 2020. It is now being expanded to include Cardiff and Swansea.

South Wales Police stated that it was working to assist homeless people.

Some councillors argued that the measures could be seen to be hostile and risk criminalising or isolating the most vulnerable.

Police aim to assist people who are suspected or found to be begging by using a model originally used in London, Operation Luscombe.

These include emergency accommodation, financial and mental support, and help with any alcohol or drug misuse.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, the force can still issue Community Protection Warnings and Community Protection Notices (CPW) if the victim refuses to seek assistance.

Tony Williams, Temporary Supremt, stated: "We encourage vulnerable persons to engage with many support agencies and outreach services that are available."

Rhys Taylor, Cardiff councillor, called other schemes in the UK "hostile" and stated that measures must be taken so that the council does not "further entrench" the problem of criminalizing homeless people.

Mr Taylor said that "it is generally recognized by homelessness charities, that this approach to begging can be detrimental to getting people access to services."

Lynda Thorne (City of Cardiff) said that the intention was to ensure we don't criminalize individuals and that the police encourage people to use the support. It's not about forcing people."

Cardiff council launched the Real Change campaign in June. It aimed to discourage people giving money to beggars and encourage them to seek support to "get back on track".

A spokesperson said that while we recognize the unique circumstances that can lead to begging, the message to those who are in such distress is to let us help and take advantage of the services available.

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