Harrogate police's new action over street beggars

Harrogate police have taken action to tackle street beggars lying asleep or drunk in Harrogate town centre.

Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 5:44 pm
Street beggars and rough sleepers pictured in Harrogate town centre last week.

After complaints from shopkeepers in the Oxford Street and Cambridge Road area, the police moved on man on from a shop doorway, issued summons and launched an enquiry into a report of an assault.

A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “In Harrogate, individuals have been reported for summons for begging offences and we have enacted powers under the Public Spaces Protection Order, resulting in alcohol being surrendered from those who were street drinking.“We will not tolerate aggressive and abusive behaviour in our public spaces and where necessary, we will take an enforcement response to tackle the problem."

There had been rumours of drug use but the police said they had no reports on that matter.

The North Yorkshire Police spokesperson also backed requests to well-intentioned members of the public not to give spare cash to street beggars, saying it could support the creation of an "an atmosphere of intimidation" in Harrogate town centre.

The spokesperson said: "Begging can create an atmosphere of intimidation and some of those involved in this illegal activity may not portray an accurate reflection of their circumstances. "A kind gesture from members of the public could unwittingly support a drink or drugs habit."

But the spokesperson reaffirmed the police support for working with local authorities and charities to improve the situation.The spokesperson said: “We believe it is important that we continue to work with local agencies and key partners to solve the issue in the longer term.”