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 firstname.lastname@example.org