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Update on nuisance begging in the central city

Published: 9 May 2016

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Update on nuisance begging

An update on begging in the city is being presented to tomorrow’s Regulatory and Bylaws Committee along with possible actions to help reduce nuisance behaviour associated with begging.

Max Wilde, Manager Bylaws and Compliance says begging on the street is not unique to Auckland and happens in other cities both here in New Zealand and overseas.

“One of the recommendations included in the update is to advocate central government for infringement powers, to address aggressive and intimidating behaviour, and increased social provision.

“This would help to increase compliance with the bylaw and avoid the time and cost associated with prosecuting beggars in breach of the bylaw through the district court,” he says.

“To address begging behaviour in the long term, a multi-dimensional, inter-agency approach is required. Addressing begging behaviour on its own is unlikely to be effective in reducing the number that beg.”

Council patrol staff and compliance officers work in a difficult environment, engaging with people who present complex and challenging circumstances, and who at times are aggressive, verbally abusive and/or physical.

These staff are highly trained and experienced in using de-escalation techniques to defuse these types of situations, to avoid harm to the individuals, themselves and to the public.

Council’s Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw was adopted in May 2014 and specifically covers begging, stating that a person must not use a public place to beg in a manner that may intimidate or cause a nuisance. The intent of the bylaw is not to ban begging.

The bylaw generally seeks to protect the public from nuisance; promote and maintain public health and safety; and minimise the potential for offensive behaviour in public places.

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