New focus on Preston's street-begging issue

Street-begging will be the focus of a Preston business forum
Street-begging will be the focus of a Preston business forum
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A fresh approach to tackling anti-social behaviour linked with begging will be the topic at a summit of Preston business bosses.

The city’s Business Improvement District (BID) organisation will host the town hall meeting next month.

Business owners will be joined by police, council and community group representatives to discuss an action plan.

The meeting comes after Preston was branded the rough sleeping capital of Lancashire earlier this year in a government survey.

BID manager Mark Whittle said: “It’s something that is raised in all of our fellow cities and we don’t want to get the big stick out and say ‘you cannot be here’.

“We want an approach where support is there for those who genuinely need it.”

Recent figures showed a staggering 9,512 ASB incidents were reported across the borough last year at an average of 26 per day.

And the number dealt with by police in Preston rose by just short of four per cent.

The City Talk event, which is open to business owners, will take place on Monday, July 17 at the town hall.

A BID statement for the event reads: "To date, we have launched the ‘Off The Streets’ text fund/campaign – encouraging people to donate to an official fund rather than on the street and begun to issue Community Protection Notices and warnings to repeat offenders who deceive the public in to thinking they are homeless.

"This is an issue we are all committed to tackling, sensitively, but in order for the project to succeed it needs a collaborative approach.