New powers granted to move on street beggars

The area in Wigan town centre covered by the Public Space Protection Order
The area in Wigan town centre covered by the Public Space Protection Order

New powers have been introduced in a bid to put a stop to anti-social behaviour in Wigan and Leigh town centres.

Public space protection order have been issued by Wigan Council and GMP which will prohibit certain behaviours occurring in the town centres such as begging and the use of intoxicating substances.

Please let’s act now and save lives on Wigan’s streets together this winter

Kathleen Pitt

A consultation took place in May following a number of complaints and more than 90 per cent of responses were in favour of the order, which will last for three years and began on Monday.

Breaching the order is a criminal offence.

Residents are being discouraged from giving money in good faith to beggars and are being advised instead to donate to a registered homeless charity in the borough.

Coun Kevin Anderson, portfolio holder for environment at Wigan Council said: “The safety of our residents is paramount and we hope that with this order will help them feel safe going about their daily lives.”

Wigan Council offers a range of support for homeless people working in partnership with The Brick and is encouraging members to signpost anyone they see living on the streets or begging where to go to access the support that is available to them.

Kathleen Pitt, chief executive at The Brick said: “The majority of the people begging in the borough are entitled to full benefits, however they are not utilising this due to their addiction to begging. People begging will very rarely leave their spots due to worrying about the money they miss out on, therefore they are unable to attend sign on appointments, engage in social activities or even attend our project.

“All efforts from Wigan Council and The Brick to help people stop street begging and move their lives forward in a positive way is vital.

“Giving money is easy but taking the more difficult step of advising someone to come to The Brick could be crucial. Please let’s act now and save lives on Wigan’s streets together this winter.”