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Beggars Targeted In Day Of Police Action

Friday 29th August 2014

The Metropolitan Police Service has been carrying out an operation targeting aggressive beggars and rough sleepers in London.

Officers working with the UK Border agency focused on hotspots in central London, Southwark and Camden in an attempt to combat the 'offensive consequences' associated with them.

"Dozens of rough sleepers and beggars were woken by police early this morning before being processed by the border agency," LBC's senior reporter Tom Swarbrick said.

"Operation Encompass targeted begging hotspots around the capital, 35 people were issued with cease and desist orders, with one person volunteering to leave the UK and return to Romania."

One other person will also be removed from the country by the Border Agency.

Police officers, council wardens and Home Office Immigration Enforcement officers all worked together on the operation - which also sees officers and partners daily patrolling hotspot areas to speak with those who sleep rough and beg from members of the public.

Metropolitan Police Service Commander Alison Newcomb, leading the operation, said: "Operation Encompass has demonstrated the benefits of a multi-agency approach aimed to reduce the number of those sleeping rough and begging, which can lead to associated anti-social behaviour and crime.

"Officers work with immigration partners to utilise legislation launched in January regarding removal from the UK, where the grounds exist. They also make referrals to outreach projects in order to help vulnerable individuals break the cycle they find themselves in when sleeping rough, while taking affirmative action against persistent offenders who break the law or cause intimidation to passing members of public.

"Begging will not be tolerated in the City of Westminster or any other London borough. Wherever possible people begging will be arrested and ASBOs sought where appropriate.

"Our activity today is ongoing with our partners who are committed and recognise that it is an issue that does not go away in a single operational action and requires a continued and consistent approach from all agencies and partners."