No matter which UK high street you find yourself on, you are bound to see homeless people sitting in doorways or alleyways begging for money. However, in Lincoln, antisocial behaviour, street drinking, and begging had become such a problem that the police there launched an operation in the summer of 2014 to try to clear the streets. With many of these beggars ‘earning’ up to £150 per day, which they often spend on drugs, alcohol, or legal highs, it is no surprise that many people wanted them gone from the streets.
There are many homeless people whose only way of making money is to sit on street corners begging from passers-by. Those with money in their pockets may feel sorry for these people and will give them money in the hopes that they will spend it on food or a warm place to stay. However, officials have been telling the public for years to avoid giving money to beggars on the street. They believe that this does not help these people because they often spend the money on alcohol or drugs, which is evident from the number of street drinkers in the city.
Officials say that there are a number of programmes in operation that aim to help the homeless get off the streets and into accommodation. Operation Applaud was launched in Lincoln last May and since then has dealt with almost one hundred individuals for begging and street drinking. However, there has not been the drop in begging that the police had been hoping for. Inspector Pat Coates from Lincolnshire Police has said that they will help local homeless people to get back into accommodation, adding, “Factors such as cheap legal highs attract people to the city, but we are trying to get a local approach to homelessness. We cannot house everyone who comes here. We don’t want to be a soft touch.”
Nevertheless, he did tell of cases where some homeless people were offered housing but declined because the accommodation offered was not in the centre of the city.
He also told of another case in which one individual was coming from the south of the city to the centre to beg for money to pay for drugs. Inspector Coates said that the first thing the police do when they find someone begging is to identify why they were begging. If they find that addiction is the underlying problem then they will try to get them help and will give them a warning for begging. Nonetheless, if they find that the only reason the person is begging is to make easy money, then they will try to prosecute.
An addiction of any type is an illness but when the problem takes hold, it can destroy lives. Some addicts will find themselves on the streets because they have lost everything through addiction. Some will resort to crime as a way to get money to pay for their habit, but others will beg on the streets in the hope that they will make enough money to pay for the drugs or alcohol that they crave. Passers-by think they are helping by giving money to these people but, in many instances, the money they get only helps to feed their addiction.
Addiction needs to be treated – Rehab Helper has a team of expert therapists and counsellors who have been trained to advise on all aspects of addiction. Our team will provide support to addicts and their families and will recommend the most suitable rehabilitation centres.