Should begging be illegal in Perth/Western Australia?

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June 26, 2014 by shitpetesays

I found a statistic in a recent article on perthnow a little confronting but not surprising. It stated that 64% of respondents support moves by the City of Perth (@CityofPerth) to outlaw begging.

Now, I understand there’s a certain level of ‘professional begging’ present in most cities around the world and I know this fraudulent activity needs to be addressed, but I also know about the people that really are in need of our spare change. It’s not going to be an easy task to (at face value) separate the genuine from the scammers but that really is an issue for our local government to take on.

Normally I have very direct views on issues however in this instance I think I’m part of the 13% of unsure respondents or the 23% who don’t support it. I say this because like always I see both sides of the issue however there aren’t any strong statistics/proof points behind how many of the beggars in Perth are the real deal or simply knock offs.

Before people support a move to outlaw begging, we need to understand the true state of our begging culture. Once we identify the dodgy ones we’ll know who the people that are truly in need and/or at risk are. With this information they can be allowed to beg while support and guidance programs can be implemented to hopefully get them off the streets – or at least have them begging less.

The support and guidance programs can also play a pivotal role in teaching them ‘begging etiquette’ as an initial step to eliminate the aggressive behaviour sometimes experienced by city patrons. I walk the streets of Perth a lot during the day and sometimes at night and I can honestly say I’ve never come across an aggressive beggar. Some had been a little rude and could work on their sales pitch, but never aggressive. In fact, I’ve seen more beggars be the victim of aggression than the other way round.

Genuine beggars are begging for a reason, so let’s find out what that reason is and see how we can help. I have concerns about the impact of criminalising begging in a city where it’s been legal for so long.

— Pete @ Shit Pete Says —

Note – From what I know, City of Perth is treating this issue correctly and researching options. This is directed at those supporting a move to outlaw begging.


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