Begging & ASB

Begging, although illegal in this country, is not actually a prisonable offence under the vagrancy act 1824. Although it was made a recordable offence in 2003, as a government drive to tackle anti social behaviour and crime.

For more information about the anti-social behaviour around begging, read on.

What’s the law say about begging?

In most cases community sentences are imposed.

The Vagrancy Act 1824 (section 3) Enables the arrest of anybody who is begging.

It is a recordable offence and carries a level 3 fine.

The Highways Act 1980 (section 137).

If a person obstructs the free passage along a highway they are guilty of an offence. Public Order Act 1986 (section 5). Causing harassment, alarm or distress. This carries a level 3 fine.

The Public Order Act 1986 (section 5). Causing harassment, alarm or distress. This carries a level 3 fine.

Homeless and Begging

There is a close relationship between begging and homelessness it is estimated that approximately 80% of people who beg on the streets are also homeless.

Many people beg because they are unable to claim benefits for various reasons, some have problems with alcohol or drug abuse.

There are also many people who beg as a way of making a living although they have homes and may be claiming benefits also.

Intimidating Behaviour

Aggressive begging is intimidating and can make people afraid to use certain areas, one example of this is groups of people who wait at traffic lights to clean windscreens even when asked not to then demand money.

If personal belongings or money is taken from you by force or against your will, or you are fearful of the repercussions by refusing to give money / personal belongings to a beggar, this is classed as robbery by the Theft Act 1968, and should be reported to the police.

Dial ‘999’ in any emergency situation.

Individuals who aggressively beg can be subject to Antisocial Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) banning them from specific areas.

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