Ipswich: Rise in reports of begging in town centre

Rise in the number of beggars in town centre

Rise in the number of beggars in town centre - Credit: Getty Images/Brand X

A campaign to reduce begging in the town centre has been launched following an increase in the number of reports.

Police, together with partner organisations, began an operation to tackle the issue after business owners and members of the public complained there were more beggars on the streets.

Thanks to work by various organisations to support and rehabilitate beggars, numbers have decreased.

Sergeant Danny Cooper of Ipswich Central Safer Neighbour-hood Team said: “We received concerns from local businesses and users of the town centre that they had seen an increase in begging over the past few months.

“In response to this, we have been conducting a joint ongoing campaign with Ipswich Central to address underlying issues and provide support to those begging, through close work with partnership organisations such as the Ipswich Homeless Transition Project and Ipswich Borough Council. Further action will be considered for those who do not engage with the agencies.”

Paul Clement, chief executive of Ipswich Central said: “Ipswich Central Street Rangers and the Suffolk Constabulary Town Safe Police team recently noted a steady increase in the amount of begging within the town centre. This has led to a concerted effort to reduce begging via a mix of rehabilitation and enforcement.

“For the majority of visitors, people begging in the street are a nuisance and are unwelcome. A number of agencies provide excellent work in this area and they are to be supported, but enforcement must sit alongside their work at times.”

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Mike Sorhaindo from Tower Ramparts added: “Tower Ramparts Shopping Centre and its retailers welcome the efforts of Ipswich Central, the police and the other stakeholders in this joint initiative and I am pleased to report that during the weeks of this campaign we have witnessed a marked improvement in street begging, street drinking and other related offences.

“We all have an invested interest in presenting the best image possible of our town centre to visitors and street begging does little to support our joint aims.”