Ipswich: Should courts be tougher on beggars in town centre?

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central

Thursday, March 6, 2014
4:02 PM

The chief executive of Ipswich Central has slammed the courts system for going too easy on beggars who hamper business in the town.

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Paul Clement said those who tried to catch and deter beggars were often let down by Magistrates who imposed small fines.

“The courts need to wake up and realise the amount of work and effort it takes to find somebody guilty of a crime, which begging is,” he said. “For Magistrates to give that person a £20 fine is ludicrous, they can earn that back in an hour.”

Mr Clement was speaking after it was revealed that three times as many people were arrested for begging in Suffolk last year than during 2012.

27 people were arrested for begging last year, all but one of whom was in Ipswich or Lowestoft. In 2012 the figure was just nine. The figure in 2011 was three, in 2010 it was seven, and in 2009 it was four.

One beggar in Cardinal Park, Ipswich, was reported as saying he made over £150 a day.

Mr Clement, who heads the business improvement district company, said the increase in arrests was not a result of more begging but increased detection.

Ipswich Central employs street rangers who work with the police to warn and catch persistent beggars.

“It is a massive interference to businesses and it is a deterrent to customers but it is something that is common to all big towns,” said Mr Clement.

He stressed that members of the public shouldn’t keep beggars on the streets by giving them money.

“Enforcement needs to be stronger in court but we could stop it tomorrow if we didn’t give money to them,” he said.

“It’s highly irritating that it happens, there is a section of those people who people are giving money to who actually do this for a living and make a good living.

“We need to stop giving money to beggars, if we want to give money away we should give it to charities who help those who are truly in need.”

Inspector Danny Cooper from Ipswich Central Safer Neighbourhood Team said: “The rise in arrests of people for begging in Ipswich is as a result of proactive work done by officers in the town centre.

“A multi-agency campaign is currently running to address underlying issues and provide support to those begging, through close work with partnership organisations such as the Ipswich Homeless Transition Project, Ipswich Borough Council and The Ipswich Central Rangers.

“However, for those that do not engage, enforcement action will be taken.”

Mark McPherson, Director of Practice and Regions for Homeless Link, said the police should “always work hand in hand with charities to ensure if someone is sleeping rough they are supported off the streets.”

17 comments

  • And another thing, the issue seller was offered a job by my son doing leaflet deliveries, he had no interest, being an issue seller classes as self employed, from this they can get benefits and extra s, why do you think we only have one local one left? Apologies for the duplication of previous post, this side is like wading through the Trimley Treacle mines...

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    C Smith

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • MrMissit? conveniently Anonymous!!!. I would like to know why many of these really hard done by hungry beggars seem to have enough money to smoke and have mobile phones? I think you are looking through very liberal glasses as I have seen as have many that the people on our streets are using begging as a career choice. One particular big issue seller is in sainsbury when I do my weekly shop, he fills his trolley with food bargains (laudable) thats if he has enough room to put it when he has piled in the bottles of wine and beer. Don't assume everyone is just being awful when they condemn, many of us are being realistic.

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    C Smith

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • MrMissit? conveniently Anonymous!!!. I would like to know why many of these really hard done by hungry beggars seem to have enough money to smoke and have mobile phones? I think you are looking through very liberal glasses as I have seen as have many that the people on our streets are using begging as a career choice. One particular big issue seller is in sainsbury when I do my weekly shop, he fills his trolley with food bargains (laudable) thats if he has enough room to put it when he has piled in the bottles of wine and beer. Don't assume everyone is just being awful when they condemn, many of us are being realistic.

    Report this comment

    C Smith

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Some people target where the money is. But across the UK you will notice the towns with the highest number of beggars are the biggest dumps. When areas are run down, these people appear. If you want to get rid of the beggars forget the legal system, find a solution to improving the town (not involving Ipswich Central). All the recession has done is taken away more money away from the very poorest and vulnerable in society to the rich and newly become middle classes. Benefit claimants get a bad name but they have the dignity and self-respect not to lower themselves to begging in the street. Others see this as a proactive way of making money - like a career - IMO scum of the earth... but these are usually those excluded from welfare or here illegally. Over the last 5 years in particular Ipswich has become more of a dumping ground for unskilled migrants (on level pegging to our existing supply of unskilled workers such as school leavers etc). If those in power prevented either these people settling (or preferably, allowed them to integrate as equals with the rest of us) ... these beggars wont be here. You really need to sort out the town centre before getting rid of the beggars and big issue sellers. This wont ever happen as everyone is content that Ipswich Central is doing a good job - this is just effectively an arms reach company taxing businesses more (through the levy) doing what the council should be doing anyway.

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    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • The beggars are a lesser evil than the regulated beggars in the form of 'chuggers'. No I havent got 5 minutes to spare for disabled children, refugees in some godforsaken part of the world or one-armed monkeys. Yes begging is a pain, but it is just one of the blights on our town whihc include too many Big Issue sellers ( the same ones for years) chuggers and comissionned chuggers selling magazines where only about 50p actually goes to any kind of charity.

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    Sentinel Red

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Some people get paid thousands of pounds claiming they are working to improve the town centre ,i have seen no improvements for years, yet they are still taking money from the public, and they are not beggars,

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    this is what we pay tax for

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Yes yes yes & yes! Especially around Cardinal Park.

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    Mr DJ

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • anybody got a few spare teeth ?

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Yes there are to many beggers be it blowing trumpets and selling big issue (eastern europe gypsies) mainly, people getting commission on selling charity things, others handing tickets out and the straight beggars. ipswich is the biggest dump in East Anglia and would be in the top ten in the whole country, how can anybody can plan it to such a rubbish town with a lovely country setting ipswich has, these clowns in charge are a disgrace and should all be sacked and put in stocks on Cornhill for all to see.

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    a west

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • begging is the way of life for some , how many of you would stand in the cold to get a few coppers [ not police]

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    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • There is a man who sits on the station bridge every day from approx 3pm and he has never been moved on! Why is that? Terrible image for people coming from the train station! and that guy that "plays" the trumpet loudly in the Town Centre puts you right off going into Town!!

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    kev70

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • How dare people in need, hungry and homeless inconvenience others asking if they would be so kind to help them in their moment of need. We all know this beggers have made this life style choice. As for Paul Clement I shall be forwarding his nomination for the noble peace award.

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    Anonymous-Suffolk

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • The biggest beggars in town are Ipswich Central and their parasitic levy on town centre businesses - have they ever thought for just one minute that maybe their additional fee on top of business rates may actually hamper business?

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    Mike Hunt

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Sentinel Red is absolutely correct. One of the biggest problems blighting the town centre is the" legalised begging" by the people who claim to be after donations for charities. This scam only sees a minute percentage of the money going to the charity. Get rid of these scam artists and it will make a start on making the town centre a better place to visit. And Mr. Clement, if you have a town centre full of Pound shops, Charity Shops and boarded up shops, then I would suggest beggers fit in well with the town centre environment you are presiding over at the moment.

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    england1770

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • How very neo-conservative - blame the poor for everything. Since he "manages" a town centre full of second-tier branches of chain stores and pound shops perhaps he should concentrate his efforts on actually getting some decent retailers. London has beggars, as does Norwich but somehow the shops still manage to be better.

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    tgtround

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • How dare people in need, hungry and homeless inconvenience others asking if they would be so kind to help them in their moment of need. We all know this beggers have made this life style choice. As for Paul Clement I shall be forwarding his nomination for the noble peace award.

    Report this comment

    Anonymous-Suffolk

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • There are so many things wrong with Ipswich town centre that it's hard to know where to start! But yes beggers are one of the many reasons I avoid the town centre.

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    RC

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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