Begging in the street is not a criminal offence, but if the people asking for money are intimidating, threatening or demanding money, Police can take action if a complaint is made.
However, to date, the Post Newspaper can confirm that there has been no statements made by the people of Waiuku to their local Police that this type of behaviour has taken place.
“We have received phone calls that there are beggars in the street, and we are well aware of who they are, but we have received no formal complaint statements or complaints that they are demanding money in a threatening or intimidating manner,” says Waiuku Sergeant Graeme Wood.
“We have previously taken action against a person asking for money when he was stopping traffic to do this. We have also spoken with this person and his family about his activities.”
Sergeant Wood states that people only beg or ask for money because it is given to them.
“If everyone stopped giving money I am sure the begging would stop. It is not a behaviour we want to encourage, so the public need to stop giving money to these people. It is similar to the window washers in Auckland—if everybody stopped paying them they wouldn’t wash too many windows for free.”
“If people are asking for money in a demanding, threatening, or intimidating manner, call the Police immediately. For the Police to take action, they need people to make a formal written statement about these threats or intimidating behaviour.”
Auckland Council has a Public Safety and Nuisance Bylaw which 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.