Tough stance on beggars is a success

News story
News story

COUNCIL chiefs say begging and anti-social behaviour has fallen dramatically in Wigan town centre since the introduction of new powers to deal with the issue.

Between September 2012 and September 2013 incidents of begging rose by 500 per cent in the centre of Wigan prompting the introduction of the Section 222 Injunction orders by Greater Manchester Police and Wigan Council.

Since the order has been enforced, the number of incidents reported dropped by 58.6 per cent between April 1 to June 30 this year.

Wigan Council’s CCTV team say they have noticed a change in Wigan town centre.

Terry Bolton, CCTV and risk manager, said: “Since the introduction of the order we’ve seen a massive difference in the number of incidents in the town centre which is really positive news.”

The order is the first of its kind being enforced in the North West, and is part of sustained efforts to make Wigan town centre a safer place for the public and to prevent shoppers and businesses from experiencing aggressive and disruptive behaviour say council chiefs.

They say there is a zero-tolerance approach to begging and anti-social behaviour, and any individuals caught doing this in the town centre will have their details recorded and be served with a court order. If they continue to breach the order, they will be in contempt of court, which will result in a fine, imprisonment or both.

Earlier this month (Monday August 11) a 36-year-old man was jailed by Wigan magistrates for 28 days after breaching the Section 222 order.