Success for new policing team tackling beggars, crime and anti-social behaviour

Doncaster market in the town centre
Doncaster market in the town centre
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A new policing team in Doncaster town centre is enjoying success at tackling begging, anti-social behaviour and crime.

The team was set up in response to a rise in complaints from shoppers and businesses over issues including 'aggressive begging' and anti-social behaviour, said South Yorkshire Police.

It's remit is to tackle problems now and come up with long-term prevention plans.

Officers and PCSOs have stepped up patrols of the town centre and are working with Rotherham Council and agencies which help the homeless to provide advice to those living on the streets.

The police team said arrests are made when offences are committed, but the team also wants to support those in need and refers people on to other agencies who can help.

Plans have been put in place to identify prolific aggressive beggars to offer them support.

Inspector Lynne Lancaster, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We have listened to the concerns and issues raised by the public and responded by developing the town centre enforcement team to proactively deal with these issues head on.

“In order to deal with the issues raised, the action taken has involved working in partnership with different agencies to ensure the correct and most appropriate response has been implemented.

"The work conducted with partners has been an important aspect of the planned operation, as although it is important to arrest offenders who are breaking the law, there are also vulnerable people and it is our duty of care to ensure they are given the relevant support and advice.

“In the short time the operation has been in place, we are extremely pleased with the results we have been able to achieve and work will now continue, to improve these results and increase further community engagement.”

In November, seven people were reported for begging, 11 shoplifters were arrested and two arrests were made for drunk and disorderly behaviour.

The following month two beggars were reported and five people were referred to the Riverside homeless service in Doncaster for help.

Last month seven arrests were made for incidents of disorder and breaching court orders.