PROBLEMS with begging and drunkenness in Bournemouth are being made worse by donations from kind-hearted members of the public, say Bournemouth council.
A new campaign launched today is warning “Your Kindness Could Kill” in a bid to stop people handing over cash to people in the street.
They are urging the public to donate directly to the borough’s Rough Sleeper Team who provide help with housing, benefits and health to those living on the streets in the town.
A minimum donation of £1 can be made via text.
A count of rough sleepers recently revealed there are just 16 rough sleepers in Bournemouth but many more beggars.
Bournemouth town centre, Boscombe Precinct and the Travel Interchange are particular hotspots.
The council regularly receives complaints from residents and visitors about aggressive begging, drunkenness and other forms of anti-social behaviour.
Strategic Housing Manager Kelly Ansell said there is no need for anyone to be begging on the streets and that help is available.
“This is about engaging with people to bring them back indoors” she said.
“By giving money direct to services you can be of more help. If money is given to the beggars it helps them to stay on the streets and in danger for longer.”
Cllr Robert Lawton, Cabinet Member for Housing, added: “Cash enables beggars to stay on the streets where they are not safe. We want to encourage people to help them in a different way.”
He stressed all money donated will go to the Rough Sleepers Team who run day centres to engage homeless people with the agencies that can help them.
Community safety manager Andrew Williams said the council receives complaints about rowdy groups of rough sleepers and said some demand cash or intimidate members of the public by sitting next to cash machines.
The campaign is being run in conjunction with Dorset Police and a number of actions have been identified including targeted police patrols, continued outreach work, street cleansing, supported housing advice, tighter licensing controls and joint work with local churches.
Posters are being put up in public areas in the town asking people to text KIND64 £1 to 70070.