Bylaw breach charges dropped against beggars in Napier

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Hawke's Bay Police say it no longer intends to pursue charges against three beggars for asking for money.

The police had charged three people with breaching a council bylaw that forbids soliciting for money without permission.

Councils across the country will be keeping a close eye on what could be a landmark court decision.
Source: 1 NEWS

All three pleaded not guilty to the charges and they were due to reappear in August.

However, a police spokesperson today confirmed they have decided not to pursue the charges.

"Three defendants were due to appear for a Judge Alone trial on 15 August 2017 facing charges in the Napier District Court for breaching a local government bylaw," a spokesperson said.

"After consultation with the local city council, Police have elected not to proceed with these prosecutions and the charges are to be withdrawn.

"Police will continue to respond to reports of anti-social behaviour in the city, including any which may accompany the act of "begging".

A council spokesperson said Napier City Council had been consulted on what their stance was.

"We confirmed that we did not intend to enforce the bylaw to address begging for two reasons – the first is that we prefer a longer term approach and second we didn't think it would act as a strong deterrent," the council spokesperson said.

"We have implemented a street management programme that provides a presence in the CBD in an effort to reduce the anti-social behaviour associated with some who are also begging, working in with Police.

"This programme will be reviewed every two weeks to ensure it is responding to the changing situation."

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