A SUCCESSFUL scheme to clamp down on begging and nuisance behaviour in Wigan town centre has been extended.
Working together, Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Police have been granted a Section 222 injunction order in the town centre.
It is absolutely unacceptable that a minority are prepared to make the lives of shoppers miserable and affect local businesses through poor behaviourCoun Kevin Anderson
This is the second year these powers have been granted in the town centre and in the North West.
Since the original Injunction Order was first put in place in February 2013, there has been a reduction in the number of individuals begging in Wigan town centre from 65 to 32 in 2014-2015.
The order means begging and nuisance behaviour will be banned in the town centre, and individuals caught doing this will be punished. Beggars won’t be allowed to approach people to ask them for money, cause nuisance behaviour which is intimidating and offensive, being drunk and disorderly.
If an individual is caught begging, their details will be recorded and they will be served with a court order.
If they continue to breach the order, they will be in contempt of court, which may result in imprisonment.
This is part of sustained efforts to help make Wigan town centre a safer place for the public, and to prevent shoppers and businesses from experiencing aggressive and disruptive behaviour from beggars.
Any individuals found begging will also be referred by partners to The Brick Project, which provides support for homeless and disadvantaged people in the borough and helps them recover and get their lives back on track.
Coun Kevin Anderson, portfolio holder for environment said: “Wigan Council enforcement officers and Greater Manchester Police work closely to stop anti-social behaviour from happening in the borough and I am delighted they will have new powers in Wigan town centre to help them in their efforts to reduce this further.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that a minority are prepared to make the lives of shoppers miserable and affect local businesses through poor behaviour.
“I’m pleased there will be severe consequences for anyone who chooses to ignore the order.”
Insp Glenn Jones of the Wigan Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT), said: “This injunction has been put in place in response to the aggressive begging which sometimes takes place, and which is often seen as intimidating to passers-by.
“These new powers will help us to deal with the problem swiftly, making Wigan town centre a safer and more appealing place for all.”
Details of the order will be placed in several locations in Wigan town centre.
It expires on Friday February 19 2016. Anti-social behaviour taking place in the area can be reported to GMP by calling 101 or visiting http://www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Crime-Emergencies/Anti-social-behaviour.aspx.