Problem with fake beggars

Local police have been cracking down on “fake” beggars and anti-social behaviour in the CBD.

Melbourne East police local area commander Craig Peel has told CBD News that the recent Operation Protocol was developed on the back of the discovery that some beggars were not what they appeared.

“Operation Protocol was developed in line with intelligence which showed that some persons committing the offence of beg alms were not necessarily persons experiencing homelessness and in need of support services,” Insp Peel said.

He said Melbourne East police had been “targeting beggars and persons undertaking anti-social behaviour and affecting the amenity of those in and around the CBD”.  

He said the behaviour of a small proportion of “real” beggars was a problem.

“Some of the behaviour displayed by a small section of beggars can negatively impact perceptions of safety and make those that wish to come in and enjoy the CBD feel uncomfortable or unsafe,” Insp Peel said. “There is sometimes other behavioural and criminal offending aligned to begging.”

“Those that are in genuine need of assistance are referred to support services including Launch Housing and the Salvation Army where support and pathways out of homelessness are offered and supported.”

Operation Protocol concluded on January 20.

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