Successful Multi-Agency Operation to Tackle Begging in Bradford

Monday 27 July, 2020

A successful multi-agency operation was carried out in Bradford to tackle homelessness and begging last week.

On 21 July officers from Bradford East NPT working together with officers from the City NPT in conjunction with staff from Bradford Homeless Outreach Partnership carried out a proactive operation in the City Centre and Bradford East areas.

Officers and staff from Bradford Homeless Outreach positively engaged with a number of street beggars to discuss with them the support that is available.

Throughout the day, it was found that a number of the people begging were not homeless and were committing the offence purely for the monetary benefit.

A number of people were found begging on traffic islands, which is potentially dangerous for themselves and other motorists and officers dispersed any people who were present.

Results from the day include:

  • Arrest for begging and breach of court bail;
  • 1 suspect dealt with for theft from shop;
  • 1 beggar reported for summons;
  • 8 beggars issues community resolutions;
  • 12 intelligence reports gathered;
  • 7 beggars who had positive interactions with Homeless Outreach staff.

Sergeant Richard Bedford, of Bradford East NPT, said: “Through partnership working, this was an incredibly successful operation this week to tackle begging and associated issues.

“We have been working closely with our partners regarding the issue of street begging for some time following feedback from residents and businesses, and fully appreciate the sensitivities of what is a highly emotive subject.

“Our key role as a police officers is to aid those at risk and therefore our concern, as it is for other agencies, is to ensure those who are by definition vulnerable receive the help and support they need.

“The work we have undertaken in partnership over the past week has been incredibly successful and the results we have achieved together have been really encouraging.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime in Bradford. I hope that these kinds of initiatives are reassuring to our residents and local communities that we are committed to ensure that Bradford is a safe place to live, work and visit.”

Clare Flannigan, Coordinator for Bradford Homeless Outreach Partnership, said: “The Bradford Homelessness Outreach Partnership (The HOP) is a Bradford Council commissioned service to provide outreach support to rough sleepers within the district. We have developed a real multi-agency partnership response to rough sleeping and achieved fantastic results in reducing rough sleeping as a whole.

Our partnership working with West Yorkshire Police and other support services has created a successful pathway to settled accommodation and specialist support for rough sleepers. Unfortunately not all people begging are in fact homeless but by working with the police we can offer support, verify their housing status and take action to resolve their situation.”

Dave Downes, who chairs the Safe pillar group on Bradford Business Improvement District (BID), said: “This is a very welcome operation carried out by the police and their multi-agency partners.

“Begging in the city centre is a major concern for many shoppers and business owners but it’s important that it is handled sensitively. The BID has been actively supporting the excellent work of the Homeless Outreach Partnership in tackling the reasons why some people beg and ensuring those who are willing to receive it are given the help they need to find the right support.

“Begging for some, however, is purely anti-social and criminal activity and in these cases it is right that the police intervene to help keep our streets safe for everyone and this operation is an excellent example of agencies working together proactively to achieve an outcome that works for the whole community.”

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