Police to seize beggars’ alcohol in drinking crackdown

Persistent street drinkers and beggars will be targeted in the crackdown. Photo: Alan Stanton.

Persistent street drinkers and beggars will be targeted in the crackdown Photo: Alan Stanton

The Safer Croydon Partnership (SCP) and Croydon Business Improvement District (BID) have joined forces to launch a town-centre campaign to tackle street drinking and begging.

The campaign, which runs until August 7, is taking action against offenders who harass the public for money, or act antisocially, by making a drunken disturbance.

BID chief executive Matthew Sims said: “The safety and well-being of all those who work, live, visit and do business here is paramount and Croydon BID is pleased to be supporting this important initiative.

“It’s vital that our town centre is regarded as a safe, pleasant and comfortable environment by all who use it if we’re to ensure that Croydon continues to attract and retain the level of investment required from both consumers and businesses to enable the local economy to thrive.”

According to Croydon Council, town-centre work has delivered tangible results since April, with a 6 per cent reduction in theft, 9 per cent reduction in shoplifting and 8 per cent reduction in robbery, compared with the previous year.

The new campaign, which includes the Metropolitan Police targeting the top five offenders, aims to build on the back of this work, and involves additional officers, new to the borough, who will be spending their first weeks in Croydon policing the town centre.

Acting Chief Inspector Pete McGarry, leading the policing side of the operation, said: “Our officers will target those who are begging, drinking in no-alcohol zones or causing antisocial behaviour.

“We will either arrest those breaking the law, or confiscate their alcohol. We will also be collecting information and intelligence on persistent offenders and will apply for antisocial behaviour orders where appropriate.

“Those in genuine need have the opportunity to get support, food and shelter from various agencies, so there is no need for them to beg on the streets and cause a real nuisance to other people.”

Councillor Simon Hoar, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection, said: “Street begging and drinking has to stop.  It increases the fear of crime for residents, visitors and commuters.”

Outreach agencies, including Thames Outreach and Westminster Drugs Project are working alongside SCP and BID to help offenders and to deter them from returning to the town centre.

This work will continue beyond the campaign with day provision, access to treatment and support services planned.

Work will also be done with licensees selling high-strength lagers and ciders to encourage responsible retail sales.

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