|Begging and anti-social behaviour declines in Wigan town centre
Recent figures show a significant decline in the number of reports received about begging and nuisance behaviour in Wigan town centre, thanks to new powers.
Wigan Council and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were granted a Section 222 injunction order in the town centre earlier this year after incidents of begging rose by 500 per cent between September 2012 and September 2013. Since the order has been enforced, the number of incidents reported dropped by 58.6 per cent between 1st April to 30th June. Wigan Council’s CCTV team have also noticed a change in Wigan town centre, with Terry Bolton, CCTV and risk manager commenting: “Since the introduction of the order we’ve seen a massive difference in the number of incidents in the town centre which is really positive news.”
The order is the first of its kind being enforced in the North West, and is part of sustained efforts to make Wigan town centre a safer place for the public and to prevent shoppers and businesses from experiencing aggressive and disruptive behaviour.
There is a zero-tolerance approach to begging and anti-social behaviour, and any individuals caught doing this in the town centre will have their details recorded and be served with a court order. If they continue to breach the order, they will be in contempt of court, which will result in a fine, imprisonment or both.
The order has already resulted in one imprisonment. Earlier this month (Monday 11th August) a 36-year-old male appeared at Wigan Magistrates Court charged with breaching the Section 222. The defendant was found guilty and received a 28 day prison sentence.
Councillor Kevin Anderson, cabinet member for the environment at Wigan Council, said: “I am delighted that reports of begging and anti-social behaviour taking place in Wigan town centre have considerably dropped since the Section 222 order has been enforced. Council enforcement officers and our partners are working extremely hard to ensure that Wigan town centre is a safe place for shoppers and businesses, and I’m confident that figures will continue to fall as a result of these measures.”
Sergeant Adam Wall from the Wigan West Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “The order has had a significant impact in reducing the number of drunken people and street beggars in the town centre.
“Our team have received fewer reports from members of the public concerned about begging and it is helping make Wigan town centre a safer place for the public to live, work and visit.”
The order expires on Saturday 21st February 2015. Anti-social behaviour taking place in the area can be reported to GMP by calling 101 or visiting www.wigan.gov.uk/Resident/Crime-Emergencies/Anti-social-behaviour.aspx