War on beggars

05. 826NEWSBEGGARS may soon be outlawed in Perth, with the city council considering asking the WA government to “reintroduce a law to make begging an offence”.

Begging is illegal in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

The PCC’s finance committee is looking at bringing together homelessness agencies to assist in “dealing with the issues causing begging”.

It’s also looking at starting a public relations campaign to “deter the public from making donations to beggars and donate instead to charitable organisations”.

Cr James Limnios said in a now-deleted Facebook post that “in most cases it’s a scam with some known ‘beggars’ making $400 per day.

“You’re better off supporting qualified charities who do a magnificent job supporting very genuine cases.”

The Salvation Army provides the PCC with a snapshot of the issue, finding “there are some people in genuine need and not connected with support agencies” and those under 25 are a genuine concern, with some begging to support illicit drug addiction.

The report also agreed with Cr Limnios’ assertion that “there appears to be a level of organisation on the streets”.

Councillors say a state law is needed because a council bylaw won’t have enough stick in it.

WA police told the PCC they don’t enforce council bylaws, leaving rangers to deal with them. The coppers knocked back the idea of joint patrols.

by DAVID BELL

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