Beggars and street drinkers have been arrested and referred to support services during an operation to help people change their lifestyles. Lambeth Council, Lambeth police, the UK Border Agency and CRI – the national social care and health charity – are now working with 11 people taken into custody on Thursday.
Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth council leader, said: “There is real and long term support available to those in Lambeth who need it. To help we are asking people not to give money to beggars, but instead contact our expert teams so we can make a real difference to their lives.”
Lambeth Council has committed to tackling street drinking and begging in the borough, offering support to combat drug addiction, anti-social behaviour and support people into housing.
Following the operation, seven people were charged with begging and two more for theft. Of these people eight live in social housing and three were of no fixed address. Six of those who were arrested failed police run drug test for Class A substances.
Steve Smith, CRI deputy director, said Lambeth had programmes in place to help drug addicts, homeless people and those committing anti-social behaviour.
He said: “We are helping the people found to be homeless people get into hostels, and from there we will support them into permanent accommodation. Those who have failed drug tests are being assessed, and will be given treatment and case management where appropriate.”
Five anti-social behaviour notices were also served on Thursday, with people given them getting help to change their lifestyles, or face charges if they commit further offences.
Work being done in the borough has already cut street drinking and begging in Waterloo by more than 40 per cent, but the council is calling on people to do their bit to tackle the problem.
There is now also a number for people to call if they are concerned about beggars and homeless people on the streets of Lambeth.
Cllr Lib Peck, Lambeth council leader, said: “No one needs to beg or sleep rough in Lambeth. If you see someone in need call us and we can help them.
“It may seem cruel asking people not to give money to those on the streets – but in reality we’re trying to help people make long term lifestyle changes that could save their lives.”
People concerned about someone begging or sleeping rough on the streets of Lambeth should phone 020 7501 0601 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.