Proposals to tackle criminal begging gangs in Tooting

Published: Thursday 12th January 17

The formal consultation on plans to control organised or aggressive begging and street drinking in Tooting is now closed. The proposals do not apply to homeless people, but residents with questions or concerns are urged to get in touch with the council’s community safety team.

The council is proposing to bring in a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) covering Tooting and Graveney wards and part of Bedford.  

Over the last 12 months there has been an increase in street drinking and begging in Tooting Town Centre. Local people have raised concerns about intimidating street drinkers, and there is evidence some beggars are ‘bussed-in’ by criminal gangs.

PSPOs were brought in under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. It would mean the police are able to confiscate alcohol and give them more powers to deal with aggressive beggars and people behaving in an anti-social way.

The proposed PSPO would be used in conjunction with the existing policy of sending drug and alcohol outreach workers into the community to engage with street drinkers and encourage them to get treatment. It would not be used against homeless people who would continue to be referred to the relevant service.   

Community services spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “We have heard local people’s complaints about an increase in anti-social behaviour in this part of the borough. Imposing a PSPO will give our community safety team and the police more powers to do something about persistent anti-social behaviour that is damaging the quality of life of people living in the area.”

Local businesses, schools, churches, London Underground, St George’s Hospital and other local people and organisations have been asked for their views.

Local people with concerns about the issue, or questions about the PSPO can contact the Community Safety Team on  (020) 8871 6254/8895 or email

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Recent comments

I live on Garratt Terrace and virtually every day without fail when walking past the two phone boxes outside HSBC I see a street drinker urinating in one of them. These just need to be removed as all they are is public toilets for street drinkers - no one ever dare use them to make a call as they are so rancid. This area outside the Weatherspoons and the corner of Garratt Terrace has a particular problem with street drinkers which needs to be tackled by the Council and the Police.

18 January 2017

Why is the article so politically correct? "There is evidence some beggars are ‘bussed-in’ by criminal gangs." The Romanian Roma gangs 'bus in' their fellow Roma to beg and steal. They have even muscled in on the Big Issue. In Balham and Tooting Broadway outside the two Sainsbury's, we have two female Roma Big Issue sellers. They use the loophole to gain access benefits in the UK. The country is the laughing stock of the world.
j karna

14 January 2017