Sussex Police has been using plain clothes police officers to arrest homeless people who are then fined for begging. This approach does nothing to alleviate homelessness, instead creating a cycle of punishment and further poverty. Please sign this petition to ask the Sussex police stop arresting rough sleepers and having them fined for non-aggressive begging.
Ray Pape, a defence lawyer who works with homeless people, has seen a rise in the number of clients prosecuted for begging. He said: “It is difficult to see why it is in the public interest ... I am not talking about aggressive begging or harassment but situations where people have asked for a few pence ... Is this a good use of public money?”
Many of the rough sleepers who risk begging are particularly vulnerable and desperate. Some are struggling with addiction, a problem which requires understanding and support. Arrests and unaffordable fines are not a compassionate or effective response.
Please sign this petition and demand that Sussex Police stop arresting rough sleepers. It's time to stop the cycle of poverty and fines, and find more appropriate ways to respond to the issues facing local homeless people.