The MPS and six London boroughs combat begging and rough sleeping

30 January 2014

Metropolitan Police Service

The Metropolitan Police Service has joined forces on Thursday 30 January 2014 with Camden, Croydon, Islington, Lambeth, Southwark and Westminster together with UK Border Force, local authorities and other partner agencies to combat begging and rough sleeping across the six London boroughs.

Under the banner of Operation Encompass officers and council wardens are working in partnership targeting those who commit such behaviour by concentrating on engaging, disrupting and deterring rough sleeping and begging.

"The MPS' priority is to ensure London's streets are safe for all"

Officers will proactively patrol hot spot areas to speak with those who sleep rough and beg from members of the public. Support will be offered through support services and making arrests where offences are identified.

This focused pro-active operation has led to several arrests and Anti-Social Behaviour notices issued with a view to seeking ASBOs in due course where appropriate.

The local Safer Neighbourhoods Teams and the council wardens work together on a daily basis to prevent any crime and anti-social behaviour linked to homeless people in these areas. Whilst some very good progress is being made, this issue is still current and all agencies are committed to dealing with this matter in a robust and proportionate fashion.

Metropolitan Police Service Commander Alison Newcomb, leading the operation said: "The MPS' priority is to ensure London's streets are safe for all.

"We are committed to working alongside our partners to reduce the number of those sleeping rough and begging, which can lead to associated anti-social behaviour and crime.

"We recognise that some of the people we engage with are vulnerable which is why we are encouraging them to access services to gain the support they need, while taking affirmative action against persistent offenders who break the law or cause intimidation to passing members of public.

"Our activity today is ongoing and operations of this nature will be carried out in cooperation with our partners to ensure the safety of the public and make our city great."