Police operation to tackle aggressive begging in Hyson Green yielding results
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Officers are working with Asda supermarket and homeless charity Framework to curb the problems after shoppers and residents complained of being persistently targeted for loose change.
An action plan – called Operation Brandberg – was launched in February and the City Central Neighbourhood Policing Team, based at Radford Road Police Station, have since successfully obtained four Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) from the courts.
These orders prevent offenders from begging and drinking in Hyson Green, including around the Asda supermarket.
Officers also have 13 pending Criminal Behaviour Orders in the pipeline to see more prolific beggars banned from the area.
Anyone in breach of their conditions can be arrested and put before the courts.
On Tuesday (7 November), one prolific beggar was arrested after he kept returning to the entrance to Asda, despite repeated warnings not to position himself there.
James Livingstone, of no fixed address, was charged with three counts of begging in a public place. The 39-year-old was granted conditional bail and is due to appear in court later this year.
Other cases include:
Lee Evans, aged 40, of Holgate Road, The Meadows – given a Criminal Behaviour Order for aggressively begging at various locations in Nottingham city centre and Hyson Green on a persistent basis since 2020
Joseph Haxby, aged 37, of no fixed address – given a Criminal Behaviour Order for persistently begging in busy public areas in a manner that is likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress
Christopher Brealey, aged 55, of London Road, Nottingham – given a Criminal Behaviour Order for persistently begging in Nottingham city centre and Hyson Green.
Neighbourhood Inspector Liz Gaskin said:
“We’ve had a number of successes since the launch of Operation Brandberg with a number of Criminal Behaviour Orders secured through the courts, with more in the pipeline.
“A lot of work goes into securing CBOs as applications are determined on evidence provided to the courts – and magistrates must be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an individual has engaged in behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
“Whilst it can seem harsh to take court action against those found begging in the street, it must be stressed that this course of action is only ever a last resort against individuals who have refused to adhere to warnings about their behaviour or engage with support services.
“As a police team, we have received a number of complaints from members of the public who have felt harassed by beggars – particularly in Hyson Green.
“In some cases, we’ve had reports of beggars being very loud in their approach and openly using foul language. The beggars we’ve secured CBOs against have each drawn negative public attention to themselves and their demeanour has caused harassment, alarm and distress.
“In these cases, we had a duty to act. Where individuals with a street-based lifestyle repeatedly ignore warnings and refuse to engage with housing and drug support services, enforcement does become inevitable.”
Inspector Gaskin said tackling anti-social activity was a key priority for the City Central neighbourhood policing team, hence the introduction of Operation Brandberg.
“Residents and shoppers don’t want to be aggressively approached by beggars,” she said. “That is why we will continue to work closely with Asda, Framework, the city council, and licensees to tackle the issue head on.
“We will continue to target those who won’t accept help or support for their substance abuse problems or adhere to police warnings about their behaviour.
“It is important that help and support is available for people first to tackle their complex needs. However, if that fails and they are unwilling to engage then we will look to take stronger action which will see them removed from Hyson Green – as demonstrated by steps we’ve taken in recent months.
“We want Nottingham to be a place that people enjoy visiting and this is just one of many ways we can ensure our communities are kept safe.”