Three quarters of Lincoln’s most prolific beggars are not homeless, new figures have revealed.
Just three of the 12 people identified as the “worst offenders” when it comes to begging on the city’s streets are homeless, with Lincolnshire Police and Crime Commissioner Marc Jones holding a summit in response to fears over increased anti-social behaviour and rough sleeping in Lincoln.
Representatives from agencies including Lincolnshire Police, the Nomad Trust, Visit Lincoln, Addaction, Citizens Advice Bureau, City of Lincoln Council, University of Lincoln, Lincoln BIG and the Bailgate Guild gathered to discuss the problems.
Discussions centred around the projects already underway to ease the problems and what additional work needed to be done.
Marc Jones said: “There is clearly much good work already being done by a host of agencies to address the issues and we need to give these projects time to have an effect but what emerged are areas where there is a gap in knowledge and provision.
“Clearly enforcement alone is not the solution but equally we cannot solve a problem until we understand it fully.
“It appears there are people begging, but not homeless or being helped for drug related problems. We need to better understand their circumstances so we can help them off our streets.
“I’ll be discussing how we can gather that intelligence with all agencies and then we can develop effective actions which help the individuals and the community.”
Matt Corrigan, chief executive of Lincoln Business Improvement Group, said: “I think it’s important for people to realise that giving money to people on street is not the best way of helping them, the chances are that someone will use cash to support a drugs or alcohol habit and I don’t think that it is acceptable that people are hassling members of the public in Lincoln and visitors to the city for this.
“Lincoln BIG is looking at better ways for people to give so that it can provide real and lasting support.”