West Midlands police report that Christopher Stewart aged 46 and Stephen Philips aged 39 appeared before Walsall and Aldridge Magistrates Court on 05/04/2017 for the offences of begging under the Vagrant Act 1824 and breach of Community Protection Notice under the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014 following numerous complaints by members of the public about persistent and aggressive street begging.
It is the first successful criminal prosecution of its kind in the West Midlands Force. Tara North is due to appear before the same court and similar offences on 05/05/2017. Officers will seek a criminal behavior order banning her indefinitely from the area.
The police are anxious to stress that this measure was taken as a last resort as the people concerned had refused offers of assistance designed to prevent them from begging in the area.
So many ‘zombies’ in bearwood of late. Anything that can be done to help these people before I have to admit them to critical care – or else they are found dead outside Aldi?
The police have made strenuous efforts in fairness, given their limited resources, to provide referrals to hostels and social services, but some of these people are operating as a business I understand.
Good to see positive action being taken,
Such a difficult area with many issues behind why people end up living this way; a spiraling into a way of life which is then incredibly hard to get out of. I’m just not sure criminalizing people is the answer; although I know a lot of help has been offered (I know of Tara, the young lady mentioned as we have spoken in the past). A criminal conviction is for life, a weight around the neck basically; it’s hard enough for people to remove themselves from negative influences, become sober from drugs and alcohol and find some semblance of normal life without this but it is difficult to know what else to do if people won’t accept help.